BOSTON (WWLP) — Thousands of homes in Massachusetts are recovering from power outages caused by Wednesdayâ€™s thunderstorm, as their lawmakers work on a bill designed to make sure customers arenâ€™t left in the dark.
Members of the Massachusetts Senate are crafting on a bill that requires utility companies to be in regular contact with customers during power outages.
Senate lawmakers hope to take up the bill next week in the wake of Wednesdayâ€™s severe weather, which flooded highways and brought down trees and power lines in the eastern part of the state.
More than 26,000 customers across Massachusetts had their electricity knocked out.
Supporters of the emergency response legislation say it requires utility company staff to accompany MEMA and city and town officials to strengthen communications between them.
Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield) explained what they want to minimize the amount of time people remain without power.
â€śResidents from western Massachusetts and across the Commonwealth, if they have to go without power, go without it for the shortest time possible to make sure that the incentives are in place for the utilities to do that work as quickly as possible,â€ť he said.
Current law allows the
Department of Public Utilities to investigate if utility companies have an adequate emergency response plan in place for severe weather.
Under this legislation, utility companies can be fined up to $20 million if they fail to carry out their plans, and that money will be given to customers.
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