VIDEO: Cuomo proposes requiring gas stations to have back-up electricity

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday proposed to require more than one third of New York gas stations to have back-up power in case of a major outage.

About 2,800 of the state’s 6,000 gas stations would be required to wire their businesses to have a generator available within 24 hours of a major outage. The state would reimburse up to $10,000 for the wiring cost through federal aid.

The measure comes after Superstorm Standy on Oct. 29 left motorists scrambling for gas in the New York City area because stations were without electricity.
Cuomo said the initiative would be part of the 30-day amendments to his 2013-14 budget proposal, which he released Jan. 22. The amendments are due Thursday.

Lawmakers have until March 31 to approve the budget.

“This initiative will allow gas stations to have generators,” Cuomo told reporters. “The generators can then pump the fuel that is in the tanks at those gas stations. And that would have made a significant difference” after Superstorm Sandy.

Gas stations that are located within a half-mile of a highway exit or a hurricane evacuation route would be required to install wiring to accommodate a generator, Cuomo aides said. Small gas stations, those that pump less than 75,000 gallons a month, would be exempt.

Cuomo said the law would be the most robust in the nation. It was unclear Wednesday when the provisions would take effect, if approved by the state Legislature.

Ralph Bombardie, executive director of state Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, said Cuomo’s proposal was more reasonable than some others in the state. Some towns have wanted to require all gas stations to have backup generators.

Bombardie, though, said he was concerned about the ability of gas stations to be able to access generators within 24 hours of an emergency, particularly if roads are closed due to bad weather.

“There are some questions that are unanswered, but on its surface, I certainly feel a lot more comfortable with the governor’s initiative than anything I’ve seen,” he said.

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