Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, today announced that New York State will make up to $17 million in federal Sandy relief funding available to help retail gas stations improve their back-up power capacity so that they can remain open during a severe storm or other major weather event.
The funding is part of “Fuel NY,” an initiative which was included within the state budget to help improve access to gasoline during a declared emergency. The initiative was developed as a direct response to the gas shortages which occurred during Superstorm Sandy.
“Providing grants to help gas stations obtain back-up generation capacity will help minimize service disruptions and make the available supply of gasoline more accessible to first responders, critical workers, and affected residents during a declared fuel shortage emergency. The Fuel NY initiative is a critical step that will help improve our ability to recover more quickly in an emergency,” said Senator Fuschillo.
As part of the initiative, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will administer a grant program to enable gas stations to install the wiring necessary so they can connect portable emergency generators in the event of an extended power outage due to an energy or fuel supply emergency or to install a permanently affixed back-up power generator.
Additionally, a new website, nysandyhelp.ny.gov/fuel-ny, has been created to provide information for both gas station owners and motorists identifying which gas stations are required to participate in the program. The website also provides a question and answer section and information on how to apply for funding. The site will be updated regularly to show which stations are equipped with back-up power capacity.
The following gas stations on Long Island, New York City and Westchester and Rockland counties are now required to have back-up power in the event of an energy or fuel supply shortage emergency declaration by the Governor, County executive, or the Mayor of New York City:
• Stations within a half-mile of a highway exit or hurricane evacuation route in these downstate areas will need to be wired with a transfer switch by April 1, 2014. They must deploy and install a generator within 24 hours of losing power in an emergency.
• In addition, 30 percent of all retail outlets that are part of a chain further than half-mile from highway exits and evacuation routes in these downstate areas will be required to install a transfer switch by August 1, 2015. They must deploy and install a generator within 48 hours of losing power.
• All newly constructed gas stations throughout the state for which a building permit is issued on or after April 1, 2014 will be required to have wiring to deploy a generator or have a back-up generator installed.
Gas stations selling less than 75,000 gallons of fuel per month are exempt.
Gas station owners/operators can apply for up to $10,000 per station to help install a transfer switch that will accept a portable emergency generator and up to $13,000 per station if they elect to install a transfer switch and a permanent back-up generator. Stations that are part of a chain as defined in the program and that are not located within a half-mile of highway exits and evacuation routes can only receive up to $10,000. Stations will receive funding only for actual eligible expenses and will be required to submit documentation to NYSERDA that the installation is complete.
NYSERDA is also developing a program whereby it will manage a pool of portable emergency generators that will be available for these downstate stations when an energy or fuel supply emergency has been declared. In addition, as part of “Fuel NY,” NYSERDA is conducting a survey of resiliency measures at pipelines and terminals, and is assembling information from experts and the industry on the potential development of a Strategic Fuel Reserve.
According to NYSERDA, eligible gas stations can apply for the program at nysandyhelp.ny.gov/fuel-ny. For help with the grant application process, station owners can call 1-855-323-3030 or send an email to GasStationGrants@nyserda.ny.gov.