In wake of Sandy, bill mandating generators in senior housing gains new attention

Sen. Loretta Weinberg, (D-37), of Teaneck, said on Wednesday the power outages that stemmed from Hurricane Sandy underscore the need to have emergency generators installed at buildings where senior citizens live.

Weinberg, along with Sen. Teresa Ruiz, (D-29), of Newark, has sponsored a bill calling for such a requirement.

The bill, S402, creates a program for installing standby emergency power generators in new senior housing, which the bill defines as dwellings where at least 90 percent of the population is at least age 62.

The bill was heard by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee in January. However, it hasn’t seen much action since then.

Weinberg said having generators in such buildings is common sense, but a law requiring it may be needed nonetheless.

“They should be smart enough to realize to have generators,” she said. “These are lifesaving issues we need to consider more about. There are people living there requiring oxygen, and use walkers or wheelchairs.”

Having generators can make sure that things such as elevators and lights in common areas are functioning.

“This is something I felt strongly about,” she said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Weinberg said much of her district was out of power, but some areas, like the business district in Englewood, did have electricity restored.

  In wake of Sandy, bill mandating generators in senior housing gains new attention