Gas Station Generators, Next Charter Day to be Discussed This Week

Township meetings address front-burner issues, Ridge High School's quarterly exam schedule online.

Consider it another possible lesson learned from Sandy: The Township Committee is scheduled to have a discussion this week on whether to require local gas stations to equip themselves with generators adequate to pump gas during a power outage.

The Township Committee, scheduled to meet at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, has on its agenda the topic of whether adopt an ordinance to require gas stations in the township to installed natural gas generators that would be adequate to pump gas. The suggestion came in the form of a letter last week from former Bernards Township Engineer and Planner Peter Messina.

A lingering gas shortage following Sandy's arrival late last October presented yet another challenge to households without power and attempts to operate municipalities following the storm.

Messina said in his Jan. 8 letter to the township that he had contacted William Dressel of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities  concerning introducing a Bill that required all gas stations to have a backup generator. "This simple requirement would have stemmed a lot of the frustrations and anxiety about just getting to work."

Messina said Dressel thought the proposal was "a great idea" and sent it along to State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-district 25).

Messina said he thought perhaps Bernards Township officials might want to pass along the proposal to their legislators and also consider an ordinance requiring gas stations in the township to retrofit their stations I thought that 1) Bernards politicians could strongly pass this idea onto their legislators and 2) pass a land use ordinance requiring all gas stations that retrofit by installing natural gas generators that are of an adequate size to pump gas.

The letter is on the correspondence section of the agenda. The meeting is to be held at the town hall at 1 Collyer Lane, Basking Ridge.

Also coming up this week:

  • The Environmental Commission is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. on Monday at town hall. Among the topics for discussion on the meeting's agenda are concerns about lawn pesticides; indoor air quality in schools; the cool cities project; and the Millington Quarry application for rehabilitation now before the Planning Board.
  • The Bernards Township Sewerage Authority is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at town hall, prior to the Township Committee meeting.
  • The Bernards Township Board of Adjustment is scheduled to hold a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at town hall.
  • Looking forward to spring, the township's Charter Day Committee is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday at town hall.

Meanwhile, the Ridge High School page of the Bernards Township Board of Education website lists the upcoming schedule for quarterly assessments, to begin Jan. 31. In response to an issue that came up at last Monday's school board meeting about whether material that would have been included in the first scheduled quarterly assessments at the high school — canceled because of Sandy — school officials said that all quarterly exams would only include material from the second quarter.

Pamela A Mackey January 14, 2013 at 03:41 AM
If the township is to pursue increased costs of doing business for gas stations during these difficult economic times, will there be a grant available to do such retrofitting? It seems logical that these business lost income due to lack of deliveries and/or lack of electricity. Is it fair to single out the gas stations , even for the public good, without helping them. One thing we don't need is higher gas prices due to increased governmental regulations. (I have no interest in this matter, other than as a consumer .)
doug wicks January 14, 2013 at 02:10 PM
I believe that rather than mandating a gas station be required to have a back up generator , that any station having such a generator could charge up to $1/gallon more for gas when pumping on generator power -this would then allow the station owner to judge whether to invest in a generator. Also the requirement for natural gas power source is silly as the station has, or should have, sufficient gasoline available on site to use for the generator or else why would they be open?
Dan Sullivan January 14, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Forcing small business owners to install generators may seem like sure fix, but what do the gas station owners say? That's a big expense when considering the cost to install all the electrical apparatus required to make it work. It can get costly? The generator needs to be located, and in many instances underground wiring installed. In an operating gas station? How did Florida handle this? What reasonable phased in requirement can be implemented. Passing the problem off to independent station operators will end up being passed off to the consumer. Gas prices are the only method for station operators to offset this cost. I like being able to get gas locally. During Sandy I had to drive to Pennsylvania to get gas for my generator and autos. If we're moving in this direction because of Sandy, well, that one storm did create quite a difficulty. It can't happen overnight, how long until any movement will even start? The more cost burden on the gas stations, the longer the delay.
Richard Pfluger January 14, 2013 at 08:49 PM
The cost of an automatic starting natural gas generator is not expensive in relationship to the capital investment in a gas station. Also, a natural gas fueled generator is cleaner burning, less expensive to run and has an unlimited fuel supply. It can run without ever running out of fuel. The way we have power outages around here, the gas station owner will be able to amortize the cost of the generator over a few years. If the township had at least two stations operating with an independent power supply, there would be a normal supply of fuel for vehicles and home generators.
doug wicks January 14, 2013 at 10:39 PM
So would you be willing to pay $1 more for gas during a power outage if the station invested in a generator?
Dan Sullivan January 14, 2013 at 11:58 PM
So, a gas station owner is going to invest this money? We're not talking a home style generator. Nor can we assume natural gas is the fuel. This is an industrial grade generator that can provide 3 phase voltage, outside service. Then we have the switching required and the licensing. The licensed electrician, permits, approvals. On and on. Now wait for another power outage and disregard fuel supplying regulations in the pricing? Maybe this is all achievable. A careful phasing in with some order of reasonable cost impact might be best addressed by the fellow expected to support this. I'm no expert on imposing these mandates. What's little cost to some can be big cost to the guy footing the bill. I'm not against it. I haven't seen any gas stations raising their hands that it's on their agenda.
Skip January 15, 2013 at 08:56 PM
What is it with the world we live in today? It cracks me up how everyone has to get involved lately over such issues. Local government, state government, the federal government etc. This is a decision the owner of each station needs to make. They shouldn't be forced to do it and definitely shouldn't be looking for hand outs. If they feel it would benefit their business to have one and do not have the cash to purchase it then the owner should go to the bank like the rest of us small business owners and get a loan.


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