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Mass. Lawmakers Send Storm Response Bill to Gov.

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Legislature is sending a bill to Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk that would hold public utility companies accountable for emergency response services and notifications during power outages.

Lawmakers in both chambers approved the legislation Tuesday, sending the bill to Patrick for consideration.

The bill would improve emergency response services in Massachusetts by requiring public utility companies to establish a well-staffed call center during major storms and coordinate with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency when implementing an emergency response plan, among other things. It would also require the companies to pay an assessment charge, which cannot be passed onto customers, to help fund the state’s Department of Public Utilities storm investigations.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who has been pushing for the legislation, called the Legislature’s passage a “major victory.”

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