Tag Archives: gas

Con Ed proposes new storm-protection measures

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

If a Sandy-esque storm were to come in the future, power company Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) wants to be prepared.

The electric company recently submitted plans that detail major investments to protect “critical equipment and customers from devastating storms” like Sandy, according to a Con Ed statement.

Long-term projects such as putting flood-proof equipment in low-lying areas, building higher flood walls around facilities, reinforcing overhead equipment and putting overhead lines underground to limit outages were proposed so that in the case that the Greater New York area is struck by another storm, Con Ed customers will be that much more protected.

However, the plans do not come without a price, and Con Ed estimates that price to be about $1 billion, which could be acquired through 2016, partly through federal funding. Also, Con Ed itself has committed $250 million to spend this year and next year on storm protection measures.

“We must invest in our systems in new ways to maintain safe, reliable service,” said Con Ed President, Craig S. Ivey.

To provide the remaining initial funding for this storm-protection effort, Con Ed proposed one-year delivery rates for electric, gas and steam services. This would raise a Con Ed customer’s electric bill only by 3.3 percent and gas by 1.3 percent. Due to fuel cost saving efforts, steam bills would decrease.

“Although the economy is improving, we are still working diligently to hold down costs for our customers,” said Ivey. “At the same time, the increased frequency and damage of storms assaulting our areas presents a major challenge.”

The company said that in the future, it is also committed to providing customers with “more accurate, individual restoration times,” as well as offering text messaging and other mobile communications for customers.

Con Ed’s new rate plans will be subject to an 11-month review, and if approved would cover the 2014 pay period.


City gas rationing to end Saturday

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Maggie Hayes

Two weeks after the mayor activated odd/even gas rationing, he announced any car, regardless of license plate number, will be able to fill up beginning tomorrow.

Beginning Friday, November 9, Mayor Michael Bloomberg instituted a rationing system to ease long lines at gas stations amidst a post-Sandy fuel shortage.

“With more than 85 percent of gas stations now operating – a substantial increase from just 25 percent two weeks ago – and Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, the odd-even license plate system will be rescinded starting tomorrow morning,” said Bloomberg.

In the week following the storm, stations throughout the city with gas featured three-hour long waits to fill-up.  In the days after rationing began, the lines dwindled back to normal.

The mayor last week extended the rationing until at least Black Friday to assure all drivers would be able to travel during one of the busiest travel times of the year.



3 Queens gas stations accused of price gouging

| brennison@queenscourier.com

gas 1

As lines grew at gas stations throughout Queens, prices at the pump swelled as well, prompting an investigation into gouging.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the first series of actions in what his office called “a wide-ranging investigation” into post-Sandy price gouging at gas stations throughout New York. The attorney general plans to begin enforcement proceedings against the 13 New York gas stations, while investigating hundreds of others.

“Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging and we are taking action to send a message that ripping off New Yorkers is against the law,” said Schneiderman.

Three of the targeted gas stations are in Queens:

• The Mobil station at 40-40 Crescent Street in Long Island City, which according to consumer complaints charged customers $4.89.

• The Shell at 71-08 Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, where customer complaints said drivers were charged $5.50.

• The Delta station at 13-09 14th Avenue in College Point, which charged $5, according to consumer complaints.

According to the state’s business laws, merchants are prohibited from taking advantage of consumers during an “abnormal disruption of the market” by hiking prices to an “unconscionably excessive price.”

While “unconscionably excessive price” is not specifically defined, the attorney general’s office said a before and after analysis of prices can be used as evidence.

Gas prices jumped 15 cents in the two weeks after Superstorm Sandy, even as gas prices nationwide fell.

“These 13 retailers stand out from others in the high prices they have charged and in the size of their price increases,” Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman said that the L.I.C. Mobil station had a posted price of $3.89, but after waiting on a three-block line, the consumer found the price at the pump to be a dollar higher. The station would not comment on the investigation.

A worker at the Delta station said they were forced to up prices after the cost of the gas they were buying also rose.

After Sandy, the station was paying $3.89 per gallon, a 48 cent jump from before the storm, according to receipts.

Six employees, up from one, were also working around the clock at the full-service station to keep up with the demand, which pushed prices higher, said the employee, John, who did not want to give his last name.

“What were we going to do, take the money out of our pocket? No, you put it in the price,” said John, who also said that the station’s prices never went above $4.50.

If gas stations can justify why their costs went up, they will not be charged, said the attorney general’s office.

Penalties for price gouging includes fines, which are calculated based on how much illegal profits were made, according to the attorney general’s office.

Councilmember Peter Vallone does not think the punishment goes far enough.

“Clearly, the penalties that exist are insufficient to protect the public in times of crisis,” Vallone said. “These gas stations in particular apparently see fines as the cost of doing business. Anyone who would try to profit from another person’s pain during an emergency deserves to face jail time.”

Gas rationing begins today in NYC

| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

More than a week into the gas shortage, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an emergency order rationing gas to begin Friday morning at 6.

Cars with license plates ending in odd numbers or a letter will be able to purchase gas on odd numbered days; vehicles with plates ending in even numbers can purchase on even numbered days.

Long Island and Westchester have also issued alternate day gas rations.

“This is designed to make sure everyone has a fair chance, that the lines aren’t too oppressive and that we can get through this,” the mayor said.

The announcement comes as Bloomberg said the shortage may continue until Thanksgiving.

Police officers will be at stations to enforce the order, Bloomberg said.  Violations are Class B misdemeanors, according to a release from the mayor’s office.

Driver’s frustrations have grown with the lines at gas stations.

“The gasoline shortages remain a real problem for drivers throughout our region,” Bloomberg said.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie installed a similar rationing plan in the state nearly two weeks ago that significantly cut down on gas lines.

Emergency vehicles, buses, para-transit vehicles, commercial vehicles, taxis and cars with medical license plates are exempt from the order.

As of now, the order will remain in effect for five days.


AG Schneiderman investigates price gouging as gas shortage continues

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Maggie Hayes

Drivers searching endlessly for a station to fill up now face a new problem — price gouging.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an investigation into complaints of price gouging at gas stations, but also for emergency supplies like generators, hotels, food and water.

“Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging,” said Schneiderman. “We are actively investigating hundreds of complaints we’ve received from consumers of businesses preying on victims of Hurricane Sandy, and will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.”

Gas remains scarce more than a week after Sandy left the area. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that 38 percent of gas stations in the New York metropolitan area do not have fuel.

Prices at the pump in New York City are up 15 cents over the past week, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. Nationwide prices are dropped five cents over the last seven days.

Under New York state business law merchants are prohibited from taking advantage of consumers during an “”abnormal disruption of the market” by hiking prices to an “unconscionably excessive price.”

While “unconscionably excessive price” is not specifically defined, the attorney general’s office said a before and after analysis of prices can be used as evidence.

According to the New York Post, Schneiderman also issued a subpoena to Craig’s List demanding the web site identify users who are offering gas for more than $20 a gallon.

If residents would like to make a complaint regarding price gouging, they can call 800-771-7755 or click here.

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Thursday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 48. Breezy, with a northwest wind 17 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 37. Northwest wind 11 to 16 mph.

Event of the Day: Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave

Devil Science Theater 3000 is an interactive event where the audience plays drinking games and makes fun of terrible movies while being egged on by professional comedians in the crowd. Find our more or view more events

Ex-St. John’s University dean Cecilia Chang rejected sweet plea deal before suicide

In the end, disgraced St. John’s University dean Cecilia Chang chose death over a life of dishonor — even at one point rejecting a sweet plea deal of two to six years in a so-called Club Fed prison, the Daily News has learned. Read more: Daily News

Gov. Cuomo fires Emergency Management chief over Sandy tree removal: sources

Office of Emergency Management boss Steven Kuhr was fired after allegedly sending workers to clear a tree in his Long Island driveway as other victims of the storm suffered, sources said yesterday. Read more: NY Post

Nor’easter brings snow, surges to storm-shocked city

A nor’easter brought heavy wind gusts and a snow Wednesday to a city trying to recover from last week’s superstorm, and coastal communities in the five boroughs were forced to endure another round of storm surges. Read more: NY1

Councilman James Sanders rips LIPA over Rockaway power outage

As tensions mount on a powerless Rockaway peninsula, the barbs being tossed at the Long Island Power Authority are becoming harsher with each passing day. City Councilman and soon-to-be state Sen. James Sanders Jr. blasted the utility on Wednesday and its top executive Michael Hervey after Sanders was told many of LIPA’s customers in Queens could be without power for up to three more weeks. Read more: Daily News

New York AG goes after post-Sandy price gougers

The state attorney general yesterday slapped a subpoena on Craigslist, demanding that the popular Web site identify sellers who jacked up prices on post-Sandy gas, generators and other supplies, The Post has learned. Read more: NY Post

Ex-con who shot Nassau County cop and motorist dead should be thrown in prison for the rest of his life: prosecutors

The Queens ex-con who gunned down a Nassau County cop and a motorist near Belmont Park to avoid returning to prison should spend the rest of his life behind bars, prosecutors said Wednesday as the alleged triggerman was indicated for murder, robbery and weapons possession. Read more: Daily News

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Weather

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 54. Northwest wind 13 to 16 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 43. Northwest wind 7 to 10 mph.

Event of the Day: William Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale”

E Phoenix Idealis Theater, Inc. delivers this classic story for a modern audience. Directed by Rachel Alt and Ben Fabrizi, it opens November 9 for a limited run at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point. Find our more or view more events

Gas rationing begins today in NYC

More than a week into the gas shortage, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an emergency order rationing gas to begin Friday morning at 6. Cars with license plates ending in odd numbers or a letter will be able to purchase gas on odd numbered days; vehicles with plates ending in even numbers can purchase on even numbered days. Read more: Queens Courier

Housing Authority scrambling to restore power to 11 developments in Queens and Brooklyn by this weekend

The Housing Authority is scrambling to restore power by this weekend to 11 developments in Queens and Brooklyn that went dark more than a week ago. It doesn’t look promising. NYCHA Chairman John Rhea on Wednesday said he hoped to accomplish this, but a day later Mayor Bloomberg was saying, “I’m not sure we can make it.” Read more: Daily News

Residents displaced by Sandy are staring at life in Staten Island ‘jail’

The state is eyeing the recently shuttered Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island as a temporary home for people displaced by the ravages of Sandy and this week’s nasty nor’easter, officials said yesterday. Closed last December, the medium-security prison could feed and sleep as many as 900 people with nowhere else to go. Read more: NY Post

Students in displaced schools can now attend nearest school they can get to

On Thursday, for the first time since Oct. 26, every New York City public school was open. But nearly 200,000 students were still out, like a Coney Island third grader whose school building was damaged and relocated miles away in Bensonhurst. His elderly grandmother couldn’t get him to the new site. Read more: NY1

Personal items battered by Sandy litter temp landfill in Jacob Riis Park

Baby toys, photo albums, broken china—these are just some precious items that can be found in fast rising heaps of waste at a temporary landfill in Jacob Riis Park. Debris from storm battered Far Rockaway has been piling up at the park’s parking lot –by thousands of tons a day—thanks to sanitation workers who have been clearing thrash and sand-clogged streets. Read more: NY Post

Iran fires at U.S. drone over Persian Gulf, but misses: Pentagon

Iranian attack aircraft fired multiple rounds at an unarmed U.S. drone in international airspace over the Persian Gulf last week, the Pentagon revealed Thursday. The rounds missed. But the incident — the first known attempt by Iranian warplanes to take out a U.S. drone — added intrigue to the extremely tense relationship between between America and Iran. Read more: Daily News

Gas lines grow citywide in post-Sandy scramble

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Locals wait in line for gas outside a Douglaston service station.

Around 10 a.m. on Saturday, dozens of people lined up outside the BP station at Marathon Parkway and the Horace Harding Expressway in Douglaston, waiting for gas. Within 30 minutes, the tank had run dry.

Similar lines at the pump are popping up all over the city as post-Hurricane Sandy clean-up efforts continue. A Gulf station on Utopia Parkway near St. John’s University had gas for roughly 45 minutes before running out.

Even stations that promised they would have gas by the weekend are falling short.

“We haven’t gotten a delivery yet, but once we get one we’ll be up and running,” said Ami Majid, manager of Nomi & Shani Service Station on 31st Street in Astoria.

As a temporary fix, the governor’s office says 5,000 gallon trucks will be deployed to distribute free gas at various points throughout the city. Each car, which can fill up directly from the truck, will be limited to 10 gallons of gas.

The gas truck in Queens will be located at:

Queens Armory
93-05 160th Street
Jamaica, NY 11433



Hours-long gas lines remain as Gov lifts restrictions to ease shortage

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Maggie Hayes

With millions of New Yorkers heading back to work and limited subway service, many residents hopped in their cars only to find no place to fill up.

“Gas is in short supply,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the daily press conference updating New Yorkers on the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy.

Senator Charles Schumer announced the reopening of New York Harbor for fuel yesterday to help alleviate the shortage.

Stations need product and the reopening of the harbor will help a great deal, said Ralph Bombardiere, executive director of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops.

New York Harbor is the busiest oil port in the world, receiving an average of 900,000 barrels of petroleum products per day, according to the Energy Department.

Cuomo also signed an executive order waiving the states requirements the registration and tax requirement for fuel tankers before unloading at the harbor and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano waived the Jones Act which will bring additional tankers with fuel into the region.

“It’s going to be better in the near future,” Cuomo said.

As of this morning, long lines litter the gas stations throughout the borough that still have gas, with drivers waiting hours.

Other stations are still without electricity, preventing them from pumping gas.

“Those gas stations that have gas have no electricity and stations with electricity don’t have any gas,” said Bombardiere.

Whenever a station does get a shipment of gas, they get mobbed and quickly run out, said Chris Mcbride, community transportation specialist at AAA.

With news of a gas shortage spreading over social media, residents panic and fill up even if they have a half-tank, said Bombardiere.

“A lot of the reserves are in people’s tanks” he said.

This can quickly become a problem in a shortage.

“You wouldn’t want too many people hoarding it, if it means some people have none,” said Mcbride.

The length of the shortage will likely depend on how long power is out in a significant portion of the area, Mcbride said.  If the outage continues much longer, the government will need to get involved, he said.

“Once power is restored, more stations will open and when people see that, there will be less of a rush and less demand,” said Mcbride.

Bombardiere expects “a nail-biting situation until the weekend.” After that the situation should ease each day and by next Friday stations should be fully up and running.


Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Friday: A slight chance of showers after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 57. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Friday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42. Northwest wind around 11 mph.

Hurricane Sandy leads to city gas shortage, run on gas

With millions of New Yorkers heading back to work and limited subway service, many residents hopped in their cars only to find no place to fill up. “Gas is in short supply,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the daily press conference updating New Yorkers on the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Long lines litter the gas stations throughout the borough that still have gas, with drivers waiting more than hour. Read more: Queens Courier

HOV rules clog river crossings

High-occupancy vehicle restrictions and the return of mass transit created a fresh nightmare for the flood of commuters trying to cram into Manhattan yesterday — backing up traffic for miles and causing long lines squeezing to get on shuttle buses. Police checkpoints were set up to enforce the rule of three people per vehicle and avoid a repeat of Wednesday’s staggering gridlock, but it also led to hour-long waits to cross the East and Hudson rivers. Read more: NY Post

Belle Harbor resident uses twine, electrical cords to save self, neighbors

Some people panic in a crisis, but others find their inner hero, like one man whose quick thinking and guts spelled the difference between life and death for his neighbors in Belle Harbor. Watch video: NY1

Generators should give power to people — not marathon

As hundreds of thousands of Big Apple residents suffer in homes left without power by Hurricane Sandy, two massive generators are being run 24/7 in Central Park — to juice a media tent for Sunday’s New York City Marathon. And a third “backup” unit sits idle, in case one of the generators fails. Read more: NY Post

Disturbed man randomly stabs woman, 22, after following her from Queens bus

An emotionally disturbed man followed a woman as she stepped off a Queens bus, stabbing her in an unprovoked attack, police said Thursday. Edwin Rios, 27, was busted at 12:40 a.m., almost three hours after he allegedly stabbed the 22-year-old victim at 73rd Ave. and Francis Lewis Boulevard, in Fresh Meadows. Read more: Daily News

Howard Beach pizzeria stays open despite blackout resulting from Hurricane Sandy

No power, no problem. One pizzeria in Howard Beach isn’t letting anything get in the way of a good slice. Romano’s restaurant is the only eatery on Cross Bay Boulevard that has been serving food to the blacked-out neighborhood since Tuesday. Read more: NY Post


Safety tips for returning home after Hurricane Sandy

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

When conditions allow, thousands of displaced residents will leave family members’ houses and evacuation centers to return home. When returning, residents should pack a cleanup kit and inspect their homes before entering. Here are some tips to ensure your return home is a safe one:

• Check for downed or loose power lines and gas leaks. Gas leaks will smell like rotten eggs; call Con Edison immediately if you suspect a leak. Do not touch downed power lines or anything in contact with them and do not attempt to drive over one.

• Examine the foundation, roof and chimney for cracks or other damage. Inspect porch roofs and overhangs. If you find obvious damage or have serious doubts about safety, contact a building inspector before you go inside.

• Enter your home slowly. If the door sticks at the top as it opens, it could mean the ceiling is ready to cave in. If you force the door open, stand outside to avoid being hit by falling debris.

• If after you enter you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window, leave immediately and turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can.

• Check water and sewage systems; if pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve.

• When cleaning up, wear protective clothing and make sure your hands, arms, feet and legs are covered. If you have cuts on your hands or other body parts, protect them from contact with water or debris. You will want to protect yourself from inhaling harmful odors or fumes while cleaning up.

Gas prices down slightly in New York City

| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

While gas prices are down slightly from their 2012 highs, drivers are still paying 32 cents more per gallon than at this time a year ago.

The average price for a gallon of gas in the city is $4.19, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, four cents lower than two weeks ago.

Over the past month the cost of gas is up 7 cents.

Last year, city drivers were paying $3.87 per gallon.  Prices passed the $4 in mid-August and have remained there since.

Nationally, the average has begun to fall. A gallon of gas nationally is $3.78, four cents lower than a month ago.


Five ways to get real and consistent savings at the pump

| ara@queenscourier.com

Whether it’s shopping for groceries or clothes at the mall, we’re always on the lookout for the best deal. Though it may be through more subtle means, you can apply the same money-saving principals toward other everyday expenses. The money you spend on gas is a perfect example.

By making a few adjustments like changing driving habits and shopping smart, you can make the most out of each gallon you pump into your tank. Here are five tips for getting real and consistent savings at the pump.

* Follow simple maintenance procedures. The most practical way to improve your fuel economy is making sure your tires are inflated properly. You can find the correct tire pressure for your vehicle on the placard inside of your door, or in your car’s owner’s manual. Using the recommended grade of motor oil can also increase your fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

* Use rewards programs to your advantage. While a few cents may not seem like a lot, the dollars add up quickly over the course of time when you consistently use rewards programs.

* Reduce weight and drag. You might not notice your carrying rack affecting the quality of your ride, but racks and other add-ons to your vehicle cause a lot of drag, taking a big bite out of your fuel efficiency. It pays to take them off when you aren’t using them. Removing extra weight, by cleaning out everything you don’t need that’s stashed in your trunk or car, can also help.

* Watch the way you drive. Most cars travel with highest fuel efficiency in the 50 mph range which begins to drop significantly the faster you go. Keeping your highway speed to the posted speed limit not only keeps you safer, but can greatly improve gas mileage. Aggressive starting and stopping also puts more stress on your engine, and uses more gasoline.

* Technology is your friend. Your mobile GPS unit can help you get where you need to go in the most efficient way possible.

Shopping smart at the pump may be easier than you thought. By putting a few of these simple fuel-saving tips into practice, you can get real and consistent savings.


Getting fleeced

| qceditorial@queenscourier.com

With gas prices continuing their two month climb in New York City — approaching 2012 highs — the average price for a gallon has risen to $4.23, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. This is eight cents higher than a week ago and 17 cents higher than a month ago.

One alternative to driving? Public transportation.

But it seems that this too will soon leave your wallet a lot thinner.

According to insiders, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is set to eliminate the seven percent MetroCard bonus – and raise fares on subways and buses from $2.25 to $2.50.

That means a monthly MetroCard would jump from $104 to $109.

The reason behind the hike?

The MTA says it needs a whopping $382 million to balance next year’s budget.

We’re all for MTA improvement projects, but this is ridiculous!

How is the average person supposed to balance his or her budget when costs keeps rising?

Pretty soon we may not earn enough to get to work!

At this point, we say it’s time for the government to step in.

Legislators must either allocate more funding or cap increases.

Either way, in the meantime the Average Joe sure is getting fleeced!


Gas prices near 2012 highs

| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

Gas prices continue their two month climb in New York City and are approaching 2012 highs.

The average price for a gallon of gas in the city has risen to $4.23, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, 8 cents higher than a week ago.

Over the past month the cost of gas has jumped 17 cents.

Since July, the cost of a gallon of gas has steadily increased and is now near the 2012 high. Prices at the pump peaked in April at $4.24.

Last year, city drivers were paying under $4 per gallon.

Nationally, the average also continues to rise. A gallon of gas nationally is $3.86, 14 cents higher than a month ago.