Berkeley Electric’s medical priority program for members has been updated.
The priority program was intended to prioritize power restorations for members with certain medical needs during an outage, but fulfilling that intent was not feasible with how outages are restored.
The program also required multiple steps. Members had to complete a priority application and provide a letter from their doctor stating what the medical need was. Then, the manager approved or denied the request. Then a member service tech conducted a home visit to confirm the member’s equipment and put a medical seal on the meter.
Each year, letters would be sent out to all members on the priority program to get updated doctor letters. If they didn’t submit the required documentation, the co-op would send a second notice before removing them from the priority list. When the designation was removed, a meter tech would then go back out and remove the medical seal.
These challenges prompted a review of the program and a change of its designation from “priority” to “special needs.” This change also removed the application and home visit requirements. Now, members are only required to provide a letter from their doctor and they get flagged as a “special needs” account.
Berkeley Electric no longer conducts a yearly update or home visits nor do they install medical seals on the meters. Members do still receive an automated phone call if outages are anticipated due to weather events so they can make preparations as we cannot guarantee uninterrupted service or priority restoration.