ALBANY – Governor Andrew Cuomo proposes that gas stations be required to install backup generators to power their gas pumps in the event of a power outage triggered by natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy.
The plan, announced on Wednesday, would require that all gas stations within a half-mile of highway exists and evacuation routes have a transfer switch installed and to deploy and install a generator within 24 hours of losing power during a fuel supply or energy emergency.
The legislation would provide grants of up to $10,000 per station to help owners install a transfer switch and/or purchase a backup generator.
Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R-Fishkill), who opposes the Democratic governor’s plan said there is “no way to plan to have a generator delivered to you during a blizzard or hurricane” and he said the gas station owners would have to spend $30,000 to satisfy the requirement.
A generator to power a modest sized house costs up to $10,000. During Superstorm Sandy, a Middletown resident had to travel to Kingston to locate and purchase a gas-powered generator to power a refrigerator and some lights.
The cost of those new generators would be passed on at the pump, Lalor said. “I’m sure the governor doesn’t pump his own gas, but he should know that drivers can’t afford anymore costs at the pump.”
And Lalor said the added cost won’t even solve the gas shortage because they are often driven by supply flow problems.
State Senator David Carlucci (D-Nanuet) supports the plan saying he introduced a similar measure in the Senate. He said “substantial financial incentives to cover the costs of bringing these gas stations into compliance – particularly those located in strategic locations near major highways and evacuation routes.”