Motion aims to preserve utility service at former North Adams Regional Hospital


NORTH ADAMS -- A judge on Thursday will hear a motion to prohibit North Adams Regional Hospital's utility providers from shutting off services while bankruptcy proceedings are continued.

The motion will be presented during a U.S. Bankruptcy Court conference as Berkshire Health Systems and the creditors of Northern Berkshire Healthcare continue to negotiate the potential purchase of the hospital.

NBH, the hospital's parent company, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on April 3. The hospital closed abruptly on March 28, leaving several hundred employees out of work and Northern Berkshire without emergency services.

NBH bondholders have been negotiating the potential sale of the hospital to BHS. Additionally, the parties are considering a short-term agreement that would allow Berkshire Medical Center to operate a satellite emergency facility at NARH until a long-term agreement is finalized.

Bankruptcy Trustee Harold Murphy, who was appointed to oversee the proceedings, filed a motion on Monday to bar the utility companies servicing North Adams Regional Hospital -- which owes the providers nearly $200,000 -- from cutting off service. The motion offers a deposit of approximately two weeks of usage, and guarantees payment of any leftover balance to the utility companies.

The motion estimates that the former hospital uses roughly $95,000 per month in utilities. National Grid, Berkshire Gas Co., Direct Energy, Earthlink, Time Warner Cable, and the city of North Adams all would receive deposits for their services.

According to court documents, Northern Berkshire Healthcare owes National Grid $85,735.99; Berkshire Gas $23,382.37; The City of North Adams $24,378.21; Direct Energy Services $56,664.17; and Time Warner Cable $8,763.09.


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