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New York's new state budget will provide grants to stockpile emergency generators to keep some gasoline stations operating even in the aftermath of hurricanes such as superstorm Sandy.
The budget, set to be enacted next week, also provides tougher sanctions to penalize utilities that perform poorly during storms – including the possibility of losing their operating certificate.
The changes come in the wake of the Oct. 29 storm that devastated parts of Long Island and New York City. A fuel shortage created long lines at filling stations and led to gas rationing on the Island and in the city after the storm.
Under the budget, federal Sandy relief aid would be available in the form of grants to gas stations in New York City, Long Island and Westchester and Rockland counties to purchase or lease generators, install and rewire their stations if necessary. It outlines parameters for what stations will be required to be capable of using emergency generators in the event of a declared fuel shortage.
“Providing funding to help gas stations in key areas pre-wire their stations to accommodate generators or purchase their own generators will help minimize service disruptions and ensure that fuel will be more accessible during a declared fuel-shortage emergency,” Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said in a statement.
In most cases, grants of $10,000 or $13,000 will be available.
All gas stations within a half-mile of highway exits and evacuation routes would have until April 1, 2014, to comply with the new requirements.
Chain that have 10 or more stations would have until l Aug. 1, 2105, to pre-wire and, if necessary, place generators in 30 percent of their stations.
Kevin Beyer, president of the Long Island Gas Retailers Association, called the plan “a solution that works in everyone’s best interest."
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo pushed for the backup-generator plan.
“This is critically important step to help ensure New York’s fuel supply remains flowing and does not compound an emergency,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.