Utilities Will Soon Be Required To Inform Customers About Long Outages

The Senate Economic Growth Committee advanced legislation today sponsored by Senator Brian Stack that would require electric, gas, and water public utilities to develop and implement a plan to disseminate information to customers concerning outages lasting more than one hour through telephone calls, text messages, or email.

“No universal requirement currently exists for public utilities to contact the vast majority of their customers regarding service outages,” said Senator Stack (D-Hudson). “Implementing an alert system for service outages will reduce repeat calls to local police, improve emergency response times, and allow customers to prepare in advance for prolonged periods without service.”

The bill, S-274, would require public utilities to maintain an alert service that would provide information to customers such as the location and estimated length of a service outage, contact information for the utility, and contact information for emergency services. Customers would have the ability to opt into the messaging service.

State, county, and municipal entities could also disseminate information made available by the utilities through a robocall, text message, or email.

The bill advanced out of committee in a 3-0 vote.

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