Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed legislation that would require approximately half the gas stations in the state to have a backup generator for use during a fuel supply or energy emergency.
“New York State must learn the lessons from superstorm Sandy so that we are better prepared for the future,” said Cuomo. “This plan will prevent the long lines, delays and frustrations caused by gas stations being forced to close when they lose power.”
Under the governor’s proposal, all gas stations within a half-mile of highway exits and hurricane evacuation routes as well as any newly constructed gas stations or ones that have had major renovations would need to comply to the requirements by March 1, 2014.
Additionally, chains with 10 or more gas stations under common ownership in any region of the state would also need to have an additional 50 percent of their stations pre-wired for a generator by March 1, 2016. In the case of a power outage, those stations would have 48 hours to install and deploy a generator in a fuel or energy emergency.
If a station fails to adhere to the new law, they will face a penalty of up to $2,000 per day.
Calls to several Queens gas stations revealed that most do not have generators and are not planning on getting one. When asked why they didn’t have one, most stations cited cost concerns or lack of necessity as reasons.
Cuomo’s proposed legislation includes grants of up to $10,000 per gas station to help ease the financial burden of installing generators, but the governor’s proposal doesn’t address other obstacles stations faced during Sandy.
Joe Yun, an employee at a Citgo station on 35th Avenue and Bell Boulevard, which suffered long lines and fuel shortages during Sandy, said that a backup generator wouldn’t have helped them in that situation.
The station had no power problems, and ran out of fuel when another issue disrupted the station’s regular fuel delivery schedule.
“[The refineries] got flooded,” explained Yun. “We couldn’t get gas here.”
Map courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s Office