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Bill Would Require Backup Power at Stations

Stern proposes bill for Suffolk stations to have 'transfer switch' for long-term problems.

Suffolk County Legis. Steve Stern has introduced a bill that would require service stations to have alternative power sources so they can pump fuel in extended emergencies.

The Huntington Democrat said stations in Suffolk County would have to be equipped with “transfer switches” to enable them to pump fuel. 

As Long Island began to recover from Hurricane Sandy, which struck on Oct.29, long gas lines have formed, the result of both a shortfall in delivery but also the inability of many stations to pump fuel without power.

“What was very frustrating was that there were numerous stations that had plenty of fuel but didn’t have the ability to pump,” he said. “If stations had the ability then a very difficult situation would have been better.”

But Michael Watt, executive director of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, said, "Our only opposition to this is that it’s an unfunded mandate for gas stations that are already up against it economically. We’re constantly battling fee increases from all kinds of registrations and inspections.

"It’s not a matter of just going to a Lowes and buying a generator. You have to buy, maintain, insure and inevitably pay a registration or inspection fee."

Station owners could benefit from a proposed sales tax exemption for the requirement. Steve Rossetti, secretary of the IDA board, said,  “The function of the IDA is to provide assistance to our local businesses. This assistance will help ensure that our local service stations are an essential part of our local disaster preparedness and emergency response effort.”

The bill is cosponsored by Dr. William Spencer, D-Huntington, William J. Lindsay, the legislature’s presiding officer, and Lou D’Amaro, D-Huntington Station.

Stern said, “Service stations are some of our most important local businesses. What we have seen here and across the country is that stations have a very important public role, not just a convenience.  Particularly today, with longterm outages, the most vulnerable and the first responders need access to fuel.”

A public hearing on the bill is set for Nov. 20.

“I do not understand even from a business perspective,” why stations aren’t already equipped, Stern said. “I don’t understand why it wouldn’t be standard.”

Ross MacKae November 10, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Keeping on point of the article. Political knee jerking adding additional legislation on a system that has so many conflicting laws that the legal experts can't agree on what is legal any more is maintaining the status-quo. If government should get involved is more the question. Hess Oil was prepared. They have been running their trucks and pumping from their stations without gouging prices. The stations that did not invest in their own stations and sources are not selling their product. Attrition will solve this argument without government help. Shell Oil, Mobil, Exxon, etc all have more money than God and can afford to maintain their product delivery without the tax payer footing the bill. If Hess maintains its price and continues to sell product the others will not make any money and customers will go where the product is available. Problem solved. As for finding blame to place on government, business, or individuals for the Sandy hurricane or the Nor'Easter is absurd. It is not anyones fault the weather turned bad. Anyone who doesn't prepare for the weather will pay the price. Insurance companies might be the criminals here. but that is a different article.
Ross MacKae November 10, 2012 at 07:58 PM
More cudos for Hess. Sold out every day! I watch their HessExpress.com/fuel every day to determine when to go fuel so I don't waste gas and time. Hess has been running 10,000 gals a day min to every station I can see and sells out. If the shell you referenced that is gouging, would lower their price to Hess' then it might sell more gas. And if they don't ... people do remember the price gougers! I haven't forgotten Ma Bell!
Ben Vitale November 10, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Please! Enough BS is enough! I have seen with my own eyes that a Home Depot Generator will indeed power a few pumps. If you choose not to get a generator that is fine; just sell your gas somewhere else. You have got to be a fool to continue to alienate your customers! We are all at the end of our ropes! Whatever happened to "The customer is always right?" Keep this in mind! Hess Gas stations provided us with Gas in our time of need; I will remember that! I will also remember to give them my business. What is it that you do not understand about the fact that your customers are going to buy Gas elsewhere. If I were you I would get a generator and put up a big sign, informing your customers that you really care about them!
HEY! November 10, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Agree! More political grandstanding at the time of crisis. This guy didn't answer my e-mail when I needed him!
HEY! November 10, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Dump Steve Stern! Insulting for him to try to capitalize on this tragedy!

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