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N.J. Town, Businesses Locked In Power Struggle Over Mandatory Generators

TEANECK, N.J.(CBSNewYork) -- A New Jersey town wants to make sure all of its essential businesses are equipped with emergency generators to prevent the chaos that occurred after Superstorm Sandy.

However, the proposal has drawn opposition from some businesses, CBS 2's Christine Sloan reported.

Many northern New Jersey residents had to sit on long gas lines after Sandy left stations and other businesses without power.

"I think it was a mess, what it did to everything," Teaneck resident Sue Parker said.

Teaneck officials said they want to avoid that type of mess in the event of another disaster. The Township council has proposed an ordinance that would force food retailers, gas stations, and senior and disabled housing facilities to install emergency generators.

"I think every business, every housing facility, they should have a generator," Don Mizrahi said.

Mizrahi owns a restaurant and bought a generator at a hardware store after Sandy. But, the solution may not be as simple for other businesses like gas stations.

"To have it set up properly you're looking at forty to seventy-thousand dollars," Shell Station Owner Jim Donovan said,"We can't afford to spend that kind of money if we were to try then they probably won't come here for gas."

The issue has become so heated that representatives from the food and gasoline industry went to town hall to meet with the mayor.

They said that several gas stations tried to use cheap generators during Sandy and had their systems destroyed. Gas station owners added that long lines at the pump were a supply issue, not a power issue.

"Most of the locations that were closed across New Jersey were closed because they didn't have gasoline. They couldn't receive gasoline. Not because they didn't have power," Sal Risvalto said.

The mayor and the township manager were unavailable for an on camera interview but CBS 2 has learned that the council asked the food and gasoline industry for evidence of the real cost to business before they vote on the ordinance.

A bill in the New Jersey State Assembly would provide low to no interest loans to essential businesses that need emergency generators.

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