MCE Distributes Portable Batteries to Medically Vulnerable Residents for a Second Time

MCE Distributes Portable Batteries to Medically Vulnerable Residents for a Second Time

California’s annual fire season represents a risk of power outages for residents throughout the state. MCE is working to alleviate the strain of these outages by offering energy resilience solutions to those most impacted in Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano Counties. In 2020, MCE made a first-time-ever offer: portable batteries to 100 customers who depend on electricity for their medical and transportation devices. The batteries, manufactured by Goal Zero, hold 3 kilowatt-hours of reserve power. MCE is providing portable batteries again this year to 100 more low-income customers in high-outage areas for backup power during future outages.

The battery recipients require electric life-support medical equipment, such as refrigeration for storing medications, ventilators for respiratory support, and mobility aids like electric scooters or wheelchairs. When power outages occur, they are typically asked to relocate to a community resiliency center for shorter outages or to a hotel if the outage is expected to last multiple days. The cost of lodging and the difficulty of traveling is burdensome. Moreover, the increased risk of COVID-19, especially for those with medical needs, creates additional concerns.

Affected customers may seek solutions to keep their electricity on, including the traditional backup power options of gas- or diesel-powered generators. However, fossil-fuel generators increase air pollution, can be extremely noisy, require customers to store liquid fuel in their homes, and may be difficult to access, start, or transport during an outage.

The portable batteries help address some of these issues by allowing customers to keep their medical devices powered with a clean, quiet, pollution-free technology, so that they can remain at home during shorter outages.

Tish, Clayton

“Our power went out last night! [I’m] so happy to have this battery so [that] I could get some sleep at home! So appreciate getting this! It makes all the difference in the world. [I’m] one happy lady.”

DJ, Calistoga

“We’ve had [two] surprise outages in the past couple [of] weeks and a planned outage tomorrow… [T]his battery [has relieved] my stress and health issues caused by being unable to run my medical BiPAP machine during outages.”×298.jpg

Tish pictured with her battery

Colleen, Bolinas

“I was so excited when I received my Yeti 3000X. I live alone in a semi-rural area and have struggled with the options of expensive, unwieldy generators and/or no electricity during power outages. I have some health issues and the Yeti 3000X has relieved me of worry about refrigerated food and lights when faced with natural disasters or planned electrical shut offs. The Yeti 3000X came with a cart with wheels which makes it manageable for me to move around to the kitchen. This is the first time in 50 years that I have lived in my home that I now have back-up for these electrical contingencies. My propane wall heaters use electrical starters so I normally use my wood stove, but now I can even plug in a heater. Thank you so much for this assistance. It is greatly appreciated.”

For more information about MCE’s efforts to reduce outages for customers, see MCE Supports Grid Reliability with Clean Energy Resources.×439.jpg

Colleen pictured with her battery

Eligibility is determined based on customer enrollment in the CARE, FERA, Medical Baseline rates as well as the number of Public Safety Power Shutoffs experienced in the last three years. 

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