A law passed by the Town of Hempstead on Jan. 22 requires fueling stations within the township to carry back-up generators capable of powering its fuel pumps during power outages.
The Gas Station Generator Law, proposed by Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Anthony Santino, is aimed to prevent long lines at fueling stations, a problem that plagued Nassau County for weeks in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
According to Murray, while a major part of the problem was getting fuel shipments into local ports and to area gas stations, she said many fueling stations had gasoline in underground tanks, but had no way to fill up cars because stations lacked the electricity needed to pump fuel into the vehicles. “Requiring gasoline retailers to provide generator back-up power to operate fuel pumps during serious electrical outages could mitigate fuel shortages during and after a crisis like Sandy,” said Murray.
Gasoline stations that pump more than 100,000 gallons a month will be required to comply with the town’s new generator law, according to the town. Existing gasoline retailers will have until Jan. 15, 2015 to comply with the new legislation. Newly constructed facilities will immediately be required to build gas stations to the new standard. “This law is one way we can mitigate the impact of major disasters that cause widespread power outages,” said Santino.
But Michael Watt, the executive director of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, said his organization was “disappointed” by the new law. He said his Suffolk-based organization, which comprises about 100 service station and auto-repair owners in the Town of Hempstead, has been working with the state governor’s office and local legislators to create a comprehensive plan to prevent long lines at fueling stations during future outages. “We were really hoping to coordinate with the state and the counties and the towns and just come up with one plan that works across the board,” said Watt, who added that having different regulations in different municipalities could cause confusion.