A New York 'Emergency Preparedness' State of Mind

Generator mandate targets fueling locations

Traci Carneal, Freelance writer

Jeff Klein (left), Dean Skelos, Andrew Cuomo, Sheldon Silver

ALBANY, N.Y. -- As Oklahoma recovers from devastating tornadoes, the state of New York is imposing a generator mandate on gas stations to thwart the potential for another fuel crisis similar to the one that paralyzed several downstate counties--and New York City--following Hurricane Sandy.

The mandate, which is included in the 2013-2014 New York state budget, will apply to stations located near limited access highways or evacuation routes in areas that were most affected by Sandy, including New York City and Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester and Rockland counties.

Stations located within a half mile of limited-access highway exit roads or evacuation routes in those areas will be required to:

  • Prewire the facility with appropriate transfer switch for using backup power.
  • Deploy a backup generator within 24 to 48 hours after "an energy or fuel supply emergency" is declared, or after losing power if the power loss occurs after the declaration is made.
  • Prepare a written plan for deploying backup power that includes key documentation as stated in the provision.

According to a statement released by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office, the mandate will also require 30% of all retail outlets that are part of a chain to install the necessary wiring for backup power. It will exempt stations selling fewer than 75,000 gallons of fuel per month. The state defines "chains" as a network of subsidiaries or affiliates that operate 10 or more retail outlets located in a single downstate region.

The New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) supports the new legislation because it provides retailers with more financial and logistical support to meet the requirements.

"The new legislation is much more manageable than the original proposal introduced in December," NYACS president Jim Calvin told CSP Daily News. "In addition to providing $10,000 per location for the transfer switch, the state also will help stations locate and deploy a generator in the event of a declared emergency."

Under the original bill, retailers would have had to bear those costs, about $5,000 to $6,000 per store annually in addition to the $10,000 transfer expense, according to Calvin. Retailers that don't own a generator will be able to rent from a "generator pool" and only pay for the days the unit is onsite.

As for stations located in other areas of the state, further study is underway to access the level of need for backup power requirements.

Watch for updates in CSP Daily News and the debut of CSP's new emergency preparedness newsletter in June.