Generator permit requests soar in East Hills

A generator is seen outside a home in A generator is seen outside a home in Port Washington. Photo Credit: Handout

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Since passing a law in December that suspends for three months the fees for installing powerful standby generators, the village of East Hills has been flush with requests, officials said.

Before the law took effect on Dec. 10, the village had handled 25 requests for permits in 2012. Since then, it has received 43 applications. The law applies to what it calls "residential generators" -- strong enough to power an entire house. The law, a reaction to increased demand after superstorm Sandy, imposes no fee for purchasing portable generators.

The fee waiver has amounted in an average savings of between $400 and $600 for homeowners, village attorney William Burton said. Local generator dealers said natural gas-fueled generators in East Hills sell for between $10,000 and $12,000 (including installation, delivery, labor and set up costs). Propane-fueled ones can cost between $13,000 and $15,000.

"It seems that the generators now are becoming a necessary addition to a home," Deputy Mayor Manny Zuckerman said. "People who are interested in buying homes, moving forward, are concerned about problems in weather conditions and consider generators quite necessary as part of their lifestyle."

The village said contractors are so backlogged it may take weeks or several months for the generators to be set up. Before they are installed, one challenge looms large. In East Hills, dozens of households are not connected to natural gas lines.

Zuckerman said he was working with National Grid to extend the gas line so it would reach three dozen homes that have asked to be connected.

The village expects demand for generators to increase sharply.

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