Cuomo announces plan to install backup generators at gas stations
Governor Cuomo announces new legislation to help prevent power outages at gas stations during a natural disaster - a topic that's on many people's minds after witnessing the fuel impact following Superstorm Sandy. Our Meredith Zaritheny reports.
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MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- Tashara Worthington of Middletown said, "I remember myself lining up and waiting in long lines to get gas before the storm hit, and then afterwards we couldn't find gas anywhere."
Gas stations saw a surge after Hurricane Sandy stormed the region, knocking out power for thousands of people including many gas stations, putting fuel in high demand and people desperate for the one thing that keeps them mobile.
Governor Cuomo said, "It was one of the real crisis after Hurricane Sandy, and it is a tremendous problem for the state, and it caused chaos that went. It caused chaos that went on for weeks all across the metropolitan area."
Now, with Governor Cuomo's newly proposed legislation, that would be a thing of the past. The plan -- announced Wednesday -- would require gas stations to install backup generators to power gas pumps in the event of a power outage triggered by a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or an energy emergency.
Gas station owner Pat PoPoli said, "If you don't have power, it doesn't matter how many gallons of gas we have sitting outside in the ground. I could have 20,000 gallons out there, but if I can't get it out of the ground into your car, it's useless."
The plan requires gas stations within a half-mile of highway exits and hurricane evacuation routes to install a transfer switch and either install a generator or have one on standby, within 24 hours of losing power during an energy emergency.
Governor Cuomo said, "We will pay for the cost of wiring so their not out of pocket anything, except for the cost of the provision of a generator."
To help owners cover the cost, this proposed legislation would provide up to $10,000 in grant money to cover the cost of installing a transfer station and generator.
Orange County Executive Ed Diana said, "So I think it's a great idea, but I think the money has to follow it as well, and to make sure that the state government puts the money up in order to pay for those improvements."
While funding will come from the state and federal level, many we spoke with say they're concerned they will see the cost of the new generators passed on to them at the pump.