Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- It’s touted as the strongest back-up power law in the nation for gas stations. Governor Cuomo is proposing legislation that would protect New York drivers from gas shortages during a natural disaster.
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo is proposing legislation that would prevent long lines and station closures during a power outage.
Under the proposal, by March 2014, all gas stations within a half a mile of a highway exit and hurricane evacuation routes, are required to pre-wire for back up generators. They must also install a generator within 24 hours of losing power during an emergency.
Douglas Daniel has owned several gas stations over the past 40 years, and now represents 250 stations across Upstate New York. He calls the legislation proactive, but says it only addresses a unique problem that happened in a certain area of the state.
“It happened in New York, Superstorm Sandy didn't happen upstate. We're a little different creature up here,” said Daniel, Executive Director of Service Station Repair Shop Operators of Upstate New York.
Under the proposed legislation, stations could get up to a $10,000 grant to install the generators. Any station under the mandate that doesn't get one could face a $2,000 penalty, per day.
About 3,000 gas stations around the state will be affected, mostly in the Long Island area, with a few scattered around in Central New York.
“I don't believe there are enough generators for a mass event for the stations to acquire them within the time frame and that additional costs associated with operating those things,” Daniel said.
Daniel says there are fundamental problems with the application of the law and it needs more work. Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo believes the law would protect drivers and better prepare our state in the event of another powerful storm.