How Is New York Working to Prevent 'Sandy' Supply Crises?

State energy authority launches programs designed to quell repeat of disruptions

Fuel NY (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Gas Stations)

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) has launched two major initiatives designed to ease gasoline supply challenges during declared emergencies in the state.

The inspiration? Superstorm Sandy, which wreaked havoc in the Northeast in 2012 on the region's gasoline infrastructure, shutting down retail stations through power outages and flooding, and interrupting supply efforts. The initiatives are part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Fuel NY infrastructure protection strategy, which formed in 2013 to address specifically these issues.

The first of the initiatives--the previously announced State Strategic Gasoline Reserve--is now operational. The reserve was designed to cover gaps in fuel resupply during disruptions of traditional supplies. Located at Northville Industries' terminal in Suffolk County, the reserve contains nearly 3 million gallons of gasoline. It may be sold to distributors at market prices to then provide it to emergency responders, government customers and retail gas outlets during emergencies. Fuel distributors can pre-qualify to distribute the fuel.

The second initiative, the Portable Emergency Generator Program, makes portable emergency generators available for rent from NYSERDA. This would impact the approximately 1,000 gas stations in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County and Rockland County that are required under a new state law to have a generator installed within 24 hours of losing power during a fuel supply or energy emergency. The law also requires these sites--which are located within one-half mile of highway exits or hurricane evacuation routes--to have had a transfer switch installed. Chains must also have a transfer switch installed at an additional 30% of their sites by August 2015.

To apply for generator rental, a gas station must have a transfer switch already installed and a certificate of insurance for a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage listing NYSERDA and the state of New York as additional insured. The rental charge is $1,500 per week plus the cost of fuel, and covers generator supply, deployment, hookup and maintenance.

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.