Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Far Rockaway) responded to a call from a constituent in the Jewish community, allowing Shavuos to be observed without a poorly-timed power interruption. An interruption, if it happened, would have disrupted ovens and other timer systems set to control electrical appliances during the holiday. Jews are prohibited from directly manipulating electrical appliances on holy days.
PSE&G was dealing with regular removal of tree overgrowth, which, had it been complex enough, might have required a deliberate one-hour power outage for safety reasons. The company’s field staff were unaware that a power outage might have disrupted systems important to the safety of those observing Shavuos.
After Mr. Joseph Lazar, like his neighbors, received an automated voicemail telling him to expect a possible outage the following day, he called the Assemblywoman’s office, which reached out to the electric utility and asked them to reschedule the work.
“This was community leadership at its best,” said Mr. Lazar. “I reached out to the Assemblywoman’s staff, who immediately got in touch with PSE&G. The company rescheduled the shutoff until the day after Shavuos. It’s a huge relief for me and my family. I want to thank Stacey and the company for helping find a solution that worked for everybody, and I’m happy my neighbors weren’t disrupted while celebrating with their families.”
Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato appreciates PSE&G’s making this accommodation, and is pleased to enter into more sustained communication so they can reschedule outages that might impose on families because of religious observances.
“We hope we’ve established a precedent for understanding what the community’s needs are before a shutoff with flexible scheduling,” said the Assemblywoman. “We’ll follow up to make sure that line of communication stays open, and we thank Mr. Lazar so much for reaching out.”