As life returns to normal post-Sandy for most of us, many still remember the aggravation of not being able to find gas and/or sitting in line for long stretches of time, sometimes hours.
It didn’t help that many gas stations were unable to distribute gasoline to millions of Tri-State residents as a result of losing power in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Due to the gas shortage, Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef announced a 10-gallon limit on gas and other communities enacted other methods of gas rationing as well.
“New York must have a back-up plan in place when power is lost so that gas station operators, the lifeblood of our energy delivery system, have the capacity to service the millions of commuters on a daily basis,” said Carlucci.
On Tuesday in front of the Nanuet Gulf Station on Route 59, Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland) announced that he introduced legislation (S.7865) that requires certain gas stations in New York State to have backup electric generators on site. He hopes that this measure will prevent future gas shortage crises when a natural disaster strikes.
“We need to face the reality that these 100-year storms are now occurring on a regular basis. This legislation will provide a safeguard to our energy supply and will allow us to double down our efforts to ensure that when disaster strikes, we can rebound to recovery.”
The proposed legislation, which is modeled off of similar laws enacted in Hurricane-prone states such as Florida back in 2007, would require certain wholesalers, terminal facilities and gas stations to have a backup generator source, including those near major interstates on state or federal evacuation routes so that residents who evacuate their homes have the ability to do so.
In addition, added financial incentives would be provided to make it the purchase more affordable. The Disaster Preparedness Commission (under the Department of Homeland Security) would determine which gas stations are required to have a generator and the commission would determine the eligibility for tax credits.
Gas stations that voluntarily do this may be eligible for tax incentives. Carlucci said that the generator is important for three main reasons:
- Distributing gas
- Accepting credit/debit transactions
- Safety features that need to be operational such as suppression systems in case of a fire
Details of the Legislation:
- Each terminal facility and wholesaler which sells motor fuel to be capable of operating its loading racks using an electric generator for a minimum of 72 hours. They would be required to have the generator source power available no later than 24 hours after a major disaster.
- Each newly constructed or substantially renovated motor fuel retail outlet given a certificate of occupancy issued on or after July 1, 2013 that must be capable of operating all fuel pumps, dispensing equipment, life safety systems and payment acceptance equipment using an alternative generated power source
- The Disaster Preparedness Commission (under the Department of Homeland Security) to determine which stations will be required to have the alternate generated power source. The commission would have to consider things such as locations to major transportation routes or evacuation routes, the actual locations of the facilities such as whether or not it is in a flood plain and near transportation hubs
- Each motor fuel retail outlet must also have a transfer switch installed by a professional electrical contractor and keep a copy of the documentation of the installation at its site or corporate headquarters. They must also keep a written statement stating that they have done testing and have ensured that the equipment is working
The legislation would apply to any self service, full service or combination of the two regardless of whether the outlet is located on the grounds of or owned by another business that does not engage in the business of selling motor fuel
It would not apply to a car dealer, a person who operates a fleet of motor vehicles, or a retail outlet that has an agreement with a public hospital where the hospital agrees to provide the retail outlet with the alternative power source
In addition, added financial incentives would be offered to gas station operators that are not necessarily required to purchase generators. The legislation calls for an added tax credit of 50 percent of the expense to purchase and install a generator.