Governor Phil Murphy recently signed ACS for A4430 and A4555, also known as “Linda’s Law,” which will require electric public utility companies to verify with all residential customers whether anyone at the residence uses life-sustaining equipment powered by electricity. The legislation is in response to the death of Linda Daniels, a resident of Newark who lost her life when her oxygen tank lost power after her electricity was shut off.
“No one should fear losing their life because their electricity bill is a few days overdue,” said Governor Murphy. “Linda’s Law will protect residents who rely upon electricity to support their medical equipment.”
Linda’s Law will prohibit electric public utilities from discontinuing service for 90 days due to nonpayment for medical customers who rely on electric-powered medical equipment to survive. Utilities shall request information as to whether any residential customer qualifies as a medical customer on a semi-annual basis.
“One year ago, Linda Daniels lost her life when her electricity was shut off and the oxygen mask that she desperately needed lost power,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. “For seven hours, in the middle of a heat wave, she gasped for breath. A year later, a family is still mourning the loss of a 68-year-old mother and grandmother, who had much more life to give her family and community….”
“It is clear that more needs to be done to ensure that those depending on electricity for their medical device do not experience a shut-off in their home,” said Assembly members Yvonne Lopez, Raj Mukherji, Eliana Pintor Marin, Wayne DeAngelo, James Kennedy, and Lisa Swain. “We need to ensure that electric public utilities have a comprehensive system to not only track, but also meet the needs of their medically dependent customers. We know that BPU regulations consider temperature as well as other factors prior to ordering a shut-off, however, the health of our most vulnerable populations must also be made a priority factor in determining a discontinuation of service.”