Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Help New Yorkers Heat Their Homes During Emergencies

Government and Politics

December 8, 2022

From: New York Governor Kathy Hochul

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation (A.1451A/S.8426) to allow homeowners leasing liquified petroleum gas tanks to receive emergency deliveries from any supplier during times of a qualifying emergency, helping homeowners keep the heat on during severe weather emergencies and other critical periods. This legislation is the latest effort from Governor Hochul to help homeowners heat their homes during the cold winter months.

"Just as we saw during November's historic snowstorm, when New Yorkers are prepared, we can handle any challenge that comes our way," Governor Hochul said. "By signing this legislation, we are bolstering our storm and winter preparedness efforts and ensuring New Yorkers can stay warm throughout the winter and remain safe during any future extreme weather events."

Legislation (A.1451A/S.8426) amends the agriculture and markets law to allow, during a qualified emergency, a customer running low on propane who reasonably believes their supply is insufficient to meet their heating needs to purchase liquid petroleum gas (LPG) from any temporary emergency supplier if their good faith effort to purchase the LPG from their regular supplier does not materialize. Both the regular and temporary emergency suppliers may not charge additional fees or penalties during qualifying emergencies to a customer that they don't usually charge when an emergency is not in effect. A qualifying emergency is a federal, state, or local emergency declaration, or severe weather or similar circumstances that may result in death, injury, or damage to a building structure due to lack of residential heat caused by lack of sufficient LPG to produce the heat. After April 7, 2023, individuals can safely switch suppliers without penalty, or if a qualified emergency occurs before such date.

The bill also requires the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets and Attorney General to develop a propane consumer bill of rights and post it on the Department of Agriculture and Markets website. It will also be provided to customers who sign a contract for the provision of LPG, detailing when a customer can purchase from a temporary emergency supplier.

State Senator James Skoufis said, "When temperatures dip, New Yorkers who rely on petroleum to heat their homes shouldn't be left holding the bag when their contracted delivery service can't or won't follow through. Legalizing consumer choice in this space when it really counts will keep families warm and safe this winter."

Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara said, "With the coldest months now upon us, it's more important than ever that New Yorker's have all the options they need when it comes to heating their homes and keeping their families safe. But disruptions to propane providers' delivery schedules over the years have left far too many people in the cold through no fault of their own. By cutting the red tape that previously prevented these homeowners from utilizing alternate suppliers in emergency situations, this commonsense legislation prioritizes the well-being of our community by providing them with more options this winter season."

New York State's Actions to Prepare for Rising Global Energy Costs
The global commodity costs of natural gas, heating oil, and propane have continued to rise, resulting in utility and heating cost increases, along with additional increases oil and gas prices. In September 2022, Governor Hochul announced multiple State actions to prepare New Yorkers for rising prices and supply issues expected this winter. At the start of November, Governor Hochul announced that eligible households can receive up to $976 in heating assistance this winter through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). Visit NYSERDA for more information about the programs, funding and technical assistance available to assist homeowners, renters, and businesses manage their energy needs.