Informer: Some stations must have generator capability

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

Gov. Bobby Jindal said that all gas stations were going to have generators so they could pump gas when the power is down.

How many really have them?

Under a law signed by Jindal in July 2009, certain gas stations must install wiring and transfer switches to allow for alternate

power if the primary source goes down. But they don’t have to install generators.

The law, R.S. 30:2195.12, applies in Beauregard, Allen, Evangeline, St. Landry, Pointe Coupee, West and East Feliciana, St.

Helena, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes and all parishes to the south of them.

“A newly constructed or completely

rebuilt motor fuel retail outlet for which a certificate of occupancy is

issued on or after

October 1, 2009, shall be prewired with an appropriate transfer

switch, and capable of operating all fuel pumps, dispensing

equipment, life safety systems, and payment-acceptance equipment

using an alternate generated power source,” the law reads.

According to the statute, building

inspectors must ensure that fuel stations comply with the requirements

before issuing occupancy

certificates.

Additionally, the law says fuel station

owners must maintain “a written statement attesting to the periodic

testing of ensured

operational capability of the equipment.” Owners must provide the

record to state and parish emergency preparedness officials

on request.

The law doesn’t apply to car dealers, motor fleet operators or people who sell fuel only for fleet vehicles.

“Due to power outages caused by hurricanes Gustav and Ike, we all were witnesses to the long lines at gas stations that slowed

and hampered our recovery efforts,” Jindal said in a news release issued to mark the signing of the measure.

“With this new law, now many stations will be equipped to operate in times of distress making our state better prepared to

deal with challenges of hurricanes and other catastrophes.”

Hurricane Gustav, which made landfall Sept. 1, 2008, at Cocodrie, and Ike, which came ashore at Galveston, Texas, on Sept.

13, knocked out power for about 1.5 million Entergy customers in Louisiana, according to a Times-Picayune report filed two

days after the second storm hit.

“Hurricane Gustav was the most

destructive storm in terms of distribution transformers and circuit

miles and second most destructive

storm in terms of customer outages in the 95-year history of

Entergy’s four-state utility system,” reads a news release the

utility issued on Sept. 19, 2008.

“Hurricane Ike generally ranks third or fourth most destructive across a range of measures.”

Online: www.legis.la.gov.

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com