ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation on Thursday to allow homeowners heating with propane access to emergency deliveries from alternate suppliers when deliveries are late or missed during times of urgent need. Under previous law, propane users who lease tanks were limited to a single supplier, even if that provider was unable to fulfill their request.

“With the coldest months now upon us, it’s more important than ever that New Yorkers have all the options they need when it comes to heating their homes and keeping their families safe,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a long-standing member of the New York State Assembly’s Committee on Energy. “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.”

Santabarbara sponsored the new bill, A.1451A/S.8426, which 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. There is a small catch, though—the customer has to try to purchase the LPG from their regular supplier first.

Neither the regular nor temporary emergency suppliers may charge additional fees or penalties during qualifying emergencies that they don’t usually charge. 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 Apr. 7, 2023, individuals can safely switch suppliers without penalty, or if a qualified emergency happens before then.

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.