Hempstead has become the first town on Long Island to pass a law requiring all gas stations that pump more than 100,000 gallons a month to install standby generators following Superstorm Sandy which knocked out power to much of the area for several weeks. Although many of the stations had ample fuel in their storage tanks, they were unable to pump it because of the loss of electricity causing severe shortages and eliciting rationing.
Three other villages, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook and Farmingdale are also considering alternative power plans for gas stations, as are Nassau and Suffolk county officials as a whole. Babylon passed a similar measure back in 2008.
While most consumers would welcome such safeguards, most New York station operators are opposed to any government effort to force their businesses to buy and install backup generators without providing funds to pay for the cost, according to Ralph Bombadiere, executive director of the Association of Service Stations and repair shops, which represents 3,000 members statewide.
He also stated that his members are also against proposals like the one introduced by Suffolk Legislator Steven Stern (D-Huntington) and Assemblyman Steve Engelbright (D-Setauket) mandating stations to be “prewired for portable generators.”
The second option is not only far less expense, costing $5,000-$12,000, as opposed to a price tag of anywhere between $20,000-$40,000 to install a commercial grade generator that could power gas pumps, refrigerator units and computers systems, it would also include a proposed $2,500 business tax credit to help offset the cost.
The legislators also noted that hurricane-prone states such as Florida and Louisiana have already adopted their own laws requiring service stations along evacuation routes and/or interstate highways to have appropriate wiring and be equipped to switch to generator power if necessary.