Whitesburg KY

Kentucky has no plan

While millions of people across the country are finding themselves dependent on life-sustaining home medical equipment, Kentucky does not maintain a complete list of people for whom a power outage could mean life or death.

It’s up to individual power companies to track which customers are medical priorities when the power goes out, Andrew Melnykovich, a spokesman for the Kentucky Public Service Commission said. More than 50 electric companies serve Kentucky residents, he said.

Utilities in every state keep “medical priority lists” to track people who depend on electricity to keep them alive. A survey by The Associated Press found state-tostate variations that suggest many patients aren’t aware they could sign up.

State and local planning officials have begun discussing this issue during “special needs population” preparation and planning sessions, said Buddy Rogers, a spokesman for Kentucky Emergency Management Services.

Still, there is no statewide plan for people in need of evacuation or supplemental battery power during emergencies. That’s a local decision left up to individual communities, Rogers said.

Kentucky Power, which has 175,590 Kentucky customers, has 374 people on its medical priority list, spokesman Ronn Robinson said. Customers must call a company call center and fill out a form to get on the list, Robinson said.

— The Associated Press

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