New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Governor Signs Kean Bill to Keep the Lights On at Hospitals, Nursing Homes

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In a power outage, utility companies must prioritize the restoration of electricity to hospitals and nursing homes under legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and signed into law today.

The Governor signed legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean that requires power companies to prioritize the restoration of power to hospitals and nursing homes after an outage. (Pixabay)

The Governor endorsed the bill, A-1226/S-265, requiring the Board of Public Utilities to adopt regulations obliging electric companies to give preference to restoring electric service to critical facilities, including chronic or acute renal dialysis centers, and research labs or clinics that store human blood, tissue, or DNA.

“When a storm or grid failure interrupts power, it is a significant inconvenience for all of us, but when it impacts facilities that rely on medical machinery and technology to sustain critical functions, blackouts put lives at risk,” said Senator Kean (R-21). “It’s an emergency any time a health care facility is without electricity. This new law signed today mandates power companies to place an emphasis on getting the lights back on for high-need users and protecting patients.”

The legislation was first introduced after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The priorities established under the new law take effect any time an outage lasts for more than 24 hours. The restorations must consider the requirements of facilities and the geographic area. The restoration efforts to the facilities cannot interfere with efforts to restore power needed to maintain overall public safety.

The loss of power contributed to the death of eight residents of a Florida nursing home in 2017, led to the loss of more than 4,000 frozen human embryos at a facility in Ohio, and can jeopardize the well-being of dialysis patients who require regular, lengthy treatments.

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