As Long Island observes the Tenth Anniversary of the landfall of Superstorm Sandy that devastated the region and left the vast majority of Long Island residents in the dark for a prolonged period of time, Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-Port Washington) is calling on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign her utility reform bills into law without delay. The bills would ensure that first responders and those with serious medical conditions receive priority service restoration during a mass outage event. The bills were initially introduced following the disastrous response by utilities to Tropical Storm Isaias that left people with special needs and first responders in the dark for unacceptably long periods of time, putting the health and safety of vulnerable residents and the broader community at serious risk.
Senator Anna M. Kaplan said "it just makes sense that first responders and people with serious medical conditions should be first in line to get their power turned back on following a big storm, but in the wake of Sandy and Isaias, we saw far too many vulnerable Long Islanders, firehouses, and police stations that were left in the dark for far too long. We need to look out for our first responders and our most vulnerable neighbors during emergencies, and my legislation will ensure that they're given priority and treated with care. These are common-sense reforms that we need signed into law without delay."
Setting Standards for Medical Priority Situations: S.931A creates a definition for medical needs that encompasses a realistic list of situations that demand priority restoration in an emergency to prevent a rapid and significant decline in a person’s health and well-being. Currently there is no standard to recognize that many medical conditions can be significantly triggered or exacerbated by a continued loss of power and that such conditions will have a significant adverse impact on that individual.
Prioritizing Critical Emergency Services and First Responders: S.926C seeks to ensure that our police, fire, and ambulance services are prioritized for power restoration within 24 hours. If power cannot be restored in that period, the utility company must provide alternate power sources to ensure these critical facilities can function.
The bills passed the State Senate and Assembly in Spring 2022 and would take effect immediately if signed into law by Governor Hochul.