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New York Gas Stations Won’t Be Powerless In Future Storms

Cuomo: New Law Requires Access To Backup Generators
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, announces a new law requiring backup generators at many gas stations on Oct. 29, 2013, in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y. (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, announces a new law requiring backup generators at many gas stations on Oct. 29, 2013, in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y. (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

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PORT JEFFERSON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — After superstorm Sandy, there was fuel in gas station pumps, but without electricity, no one could fill up their tanks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that won’t happen again.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, Cuomo announced gas stations on or near main highways or expressways will be required to have transfer switches so that generator power can be used. Nearly 400 gas stations on Long Island will be required by law to install the switches. Business owners can pay for the installation with grant money, Cuomo said.

“This transfer switch, they have to install by law by next year, and there’s a credit for them on the transfer switch,” Cuomo said Tuesday at a Hess gas station in Port Jefferson Station. “The generator, they don’t have to buy. It only has to be available. So many gasoline stations are making arrangements where they can rent a generator if they have to.”

Kathleen Beissel recalled the frustration of trying to fill up in the days after Sandy.

“When we were on Long Island, you were just driving around looking for gas stations that had gas, and you couldn’t find them,” she told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez. “And the ones that did, there was a four-, five-hour wait.

One Year Later: Remembering Sandy | Photos: Then & Now

Cuomo is also creating the nation’s first state gasoline reserve to prevent shortages during emergencies.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie spearheaded a federally funded $7 million grant program to make backup electricity more reliable and accessible for gas stations on evacuation routes.

“I think we’ve made tremendous progress in the last year,” Christie said.

Because power outages were the culprit for many gas pumps being out of commission after the storm, Con Edison has invested $1 billion to install tougher cables and power poles, raised substations and water-proofed its infrastructure. PSE&G has taken similar steps in New Jersey, as has LIPA on Long Island, where the utility invested more than $270 million to improve equipment.

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