Utility companies must prioritize hospitals, nursing homes when power goes out, new law states
It would seem obvious but if it wasn't yesterday, it is today for utility companies to prioritize the restoration of power in the event of an outage to hospitals and nursing homes.
Under a new law signed by Governor Murphy on Monday, the onus goes on utility companies to make sure these places have power back first.
The legislation was sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and the Governor endorsed the bill, Senator Kean said in a statement, (A-1226/S-265), which in full, requires 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,” Senator Kean (R-21) said. “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.”
Kean said the legislation was first introduced after Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
With this law, the priorities for hospitals and nursing homes would take effect any time an outage lasts for more than 24 hours and the restorations must consider the requirements of facilities and the geographic area.
Senator Kean said the restoration efforts to the facilities can't "interfere with efforts to restore power needed to maintain overall public safety."