ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)—After years of complaints from Capital Region residents having issues getting their propane tanks re-filled during the cold winter months, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara sponsored legislation which would allow homeowners to get deliveries from another propane supplier in times of emergencies. On Thursday, it became a new law.
“Under previous law these families, these homeowners were limited to one single supplier,” said Santabarbara. “Whether they could deliver or not, they were just stuck waiting— sometimes for weeks. As you know, during the coldest months of the year, some of these calls come during February. They had no option to keep the heat on.”
The law requires emergency propane providers to complete safety inspections and testing before the tank is filled, prohibits additional fees and penalties for the service, and requires the Attorney General’s office and State Department of Agriculture and Markets to create a propane consumer bill of rights.
Bill Overbaugh, Executive Director of the NY Propane Gas Association said the law falls short. “It fails to define what an emergency situation is, and second it fails to protect a propane dealers investment. And third and most importantly, it fails to address any safety and liability issues in the rare event of an accident.”
The association wants amendments including the emergency supplier to assume all responsibility for any problems that may result from improper filling or testing of the tank.
When asked about liability, Santabarbara said, “Ag and Markets will be developing the regulations. It’s probably going to get underway shortly here, so we can see those regulations when they come out to make sure everything is done properly, to make sure all of the specific procedures are in place— whose responsible for what, when this applies, when it can be accessed and how the new regulations will work.”
The law goes into effect in April, unless there is a qualifying emergency.