Power companies would be required to prioritize the restoration of electricity to hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities under legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and advanced today by the Economic Growth Committee.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s legislation would require power companies to prioritize the restoration of electricity to hospitals, nursing homes, and other critical facilities. (Pixabay)
Kean’s bill, S-265, requires the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to adopt regulations obliging electric utilities to give preference to restoring power to critical facilities, including chronic or acute renal dialysis centers, and research labs or clinics that store human blood, tissue, or DNA.
“When the lights go out, it’s an inconvenience for everybody, but outages put lives at risk when they impact facilities that rely on medical machinery and technology to sustain critical functions,” said Senator Kean (R-21). “This legislation would mandate power companies place an emphasis on getting the lights back on for high-need users. It’s an emergency any time a health care facility is without electricity.”
This bill, first introduced after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, requires a utility to first restore power to any of the specified facilities after a power outage of 24 hours. The restoration must take into account the facilities’ needs and the geographic area in which power is to be restored, and prioritizing restoration efforts to the facilities should not divert efforts to restore power where needed to maintain overall public safety.
Power disruptions led to the loss 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 are particularly disconcerting for dialysis patients who require regular, lengthy treatments.
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