September 2, 2011
Dear NJGCA Member:
Here's what you'll find in this edition of the NJGCA Road Warrior, and thank you for reading:
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
•Hurricane follow-up, Gouging rhetoric, and Terrorism alert
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
•As residents continue to deal with after effects, Obama declares N.J. a disaster area
•President seeks federal gas tax extension, urges Congress to act
•New Jersey now employs the lowest number of public workers in eight years
•State government to help businesses hit by Hurricane Irene
•Regency Property Appraisers: Serving all your appraisal needs in NJ, NY, and beyond!
TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULE
•ETEP TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULE!
MEET THE FOLKS AT LIBERTY GAS
•Looking for a new brand for your station? Take a look at the opportunity below!
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
•TMP Energy Solutions: Another Way to Save On Your Energy Bills!
REAL ESTATE FOR SALE OR LEASE
•Interested in acquiring or leasing a property? See below!
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM BELLOMO FUELS
•Serving New Jersey since 1910 -- Over 100 years of supplying gasoline retailers like YOU!
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
•Participate in the NJGCA PAC today and help us keep our Agenda rolling in Trenton!
THE MEMBER TOOL BOX
•On the NJGCA Homepage
•Know your Territory Manager!
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
HURRICANE FOLLOW UP, GOUGING RHETORIC, AND TERRORISM ALERT
HOUSEKEEPING ITEM: Last week I asked you to hold two dates in November for a special meeting on calibration problems and to hear from officials from USDOL and NJDEP. Unfortunately, I cited one of the dates incorrectly. The CORRECT dates for these meetings are November 9th and 10th (and NOT November 8th and 9th). Please appropriately update your calendars for these meetings and clear your schedule to be there! Please call me with any questions.
Sometimes, things are just meant to be. And sometimes, they just fall into place unexpectedly. Whether it’s careful planning, coincidence, or just dumb luck, I certainly appreciate it when events unfold optimistically.
Looking back a few months, I guess you could say the same thing about a chance invitation I received from the NJ State Police (NJSP) and the NJ Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness (NJOHSP) back in May. The invite was for an August 16th meeting and the subject of this gathering was ‘Hurricane Readiness’.
It seems that state officials are trying to be proactive in coming up with a proper safety and logistics plan in case of a hurricane disaster. Though we’ve had our share of hurricanes and a few evacuations over the last few decades, the truth is it’s been 70 years since New Jersey was directly hit by a hurricane. Many top officials believed that we are due for such an event soon, with some clamoring that we should get ready for what would be considered a hundred years storm.
I was given two months warning to clear my schedule and I participated in the event just a few weeks ago. The meeting encompassed a number of state officials, security experts, and my counterparts from other sectors of the petroleum industry, which included oil companies, refiners, distributors, and storage facility personnel.
While that may seem like an odd assortment of folks to take part in a safety and logistics planning session, there was a reason for our participation. The NJSP and NJOHSP have placed an enormous amount of concern on the possible need to evacuate vulnerable areas of the state if disaster were to strike. Key among these areas are New Jersey’s coastal regions, where people would need to be evacuated swiftly. As such, having gasoline stations that are fully stocked with product before and after a hurricane and are able to service motorists is of crucial concern. After all, we can’t allow motorists to be stranded along the evacuation routes and other arteries of the state when residents, first responders, and materials are trying to get to and from an afflicted area.
In order to accomplish this, state security officials were seeking our feedback and expertise in how to construct a plan that would permit these stations to have a ready supply of gasoline and electrical power in the aftermath of an ensuring storm. While we did not complete the strategy, we did come up with an outline of a plan that needs to be fully flushed out and completed. The goal is to gather as much information over the next year to have a plan in place for the 2012 hurricane season.
Well, what a difference two weeks made. At the time we couldn’t have known that Hurricane Irene was going to give us a scare or that there would be so much damage to parts of the state. Still, as I said earlier, whether it was good fortune, coincidence, or careful planning, we were very lucky to have at least a rudimentary plan in place before Irene arrived on our shores.
Nevertheless, Irene’s unexpected visit to New Jersey only underscores the importance of having such a plan in place in case a disaster should strike. And make no mistake about it, as bad as Irene may have seemed to many of you, it was NOT the full-on, direct hurricane hit that state officials were worried about. That has yet to come, but by the time that hurricane gets here, we hope to have our plan in place.
Here’s what’s being considered:
?To create a map that will show where every gasoline retail outlet, supermarket, grocery store, convenience store, and hardware store is in the state. NJGCA will participate will participate in each aspect – both food and fuel – to fully map out the region.
?To consider electric generators that are strategically located at gasoline stations in certain areas. An alternative consideration would find hook ups that will accommodate portable electric generators for stations in other strategic zones.
?A communications chain will be put in place to solve potential problems, such as gas stations experiencing power outages that render dispensers unusable or road closures which prevent fuel deliveries. A communications plan will help expedite solving any of these kinds of emergencies.
?Solutions to damage at strategically located gas stations that are unable to dispense gasoline during an emergency are also going to be discussed.
Some of you may remember that several legislators introduced legislation that would REQUIRE all gas stations to install emergency generators on their facilities back in 2007. The cost would have run into the thousands at your location. Although I understood the benefits to both gasoline retailers and the general public, I met with legislators to voice our opposition. I thought a much better solution would be to offer direct tax credits for those stations that did invest money in their locations to install electrical generators rather than mandate that small businesses invest money that they either didn’t have or didn’t want to invest. I was successful killing the idea back then, though I fear this idea could resurface in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
I hope the plan we put in place over the next year will create solutions to help you get electricity when you need it after a storm and remain in business. Solutions to unblock roadways to make sure gasoline deliveries get through will also be discussed.
I’ll need your help, which is why I’m asking you to email me with any and all details on the difficulties you have experienced this past week with Hurricane Irene. Don’t put it off – DO IT NOW WHILE THE DETAILS OF YOUR HORROR STORIES ARE STILL FRESH IN YOUR MIND!
I want to know if you lost power: for how long were you without power; and who you called to get power back at your location. How cooperative and accurate was the power company representative when dealing with you? If you did lose power, I’d like to know what the reason was; was it a transformer explosion or were power lines down – send me the details.
I’d also like to know any details or issues dealing with road closures and flooding in your area that hampered gasoline deliveries to your station during the hurricane.
Of course, I invite you to chime in with your ideas or solutions to prevent or solve any of these issues. I know I would appreciate them and I’m sure they would be welcomed in our discussions.
Plans and preparedness aside, if you were fortunate enough to not lose power or miss out on a fuel delivery due to the storm, you may have been harmed in other ways. Not a single storm or delivery interruption occurs without someone screaming accusations of gouging – and it really gets under my skin.
I honestly hate that word: GOUGING. I hate that the news media keeps talking about it. I hate that the Governor and other public officials had to address question on gouging in their press conferences over the weekend. I hate that motorists called radio talk shows to talk about it. Motorists became suspicious of their corner retailer.
Most of all I hate that word because it does not exist in the real world gasoline marketplace. And unless I have been driving around blindfolded, I certainly haven’t seen it.
Let me ask you: What is gouging? Do you know the definition? Does it give you a kind of ‘feeling’ when you say or hear the word? I know when I hear the word; it wells up sentiments of being immoral, or unethical and unconscionable. The fact is that raising your price to capitalize on market conditions, should never be considered gouging, unless it contains those elements of immoral or unconscionable behavior. Even if you were so bold as to charge $100 a gallon, your customer is certainly free, willing, and able to go down the street to a competitor and purchase fuel from them. It’s not gouging!
Nevertheless as a result of some bad behavior by retailers after Hurricane Katrina, the state does have a law that was put in place to protect consumers from gouging. Whether we like it or not, it’s the law and we are compelled to obey it. Still, if the law is to be invoked against you, remember that leniency and mercy are unlikely to be considered. Sadly, the motoring public doesn’t really care about how difficult it is for you out there. If they even get a whiff of you doing something wrong, public perception will sour and they’ll turn against you.
The bottom line is that there’s a statute in place and it’s my responsibility for you to understand that if you are caught doing wrong and are fined, it won’t be nearly as bad as the negative publicity you’ll get from it.
Once either the President or the Governor declares a State of Emergency for any reason the NJ Statute goes in to effect. You can read the entire statute by clicking HERE but I have summarized it for you below.
The State of Emergency declaration triggers the price gouging law (N.J.S.A. 56:8-109).
Specifically, this law makes it an unlawful practice to sell merchandise at what constitutes an excessive price increase during the State of Emergency or within 30 days of the termination of the State of Emergency. An excessive price increase is defined as:
"Excessive price increase" means a price that is excessive as compared to the price at which the consumer good or service was sold or offered for sale by the seller in the usual course of business immediately prior to the state of emergency. A price shall be deemed excessive if:
(1) The price exceeds by more than 10 percent the price at which the good or service was sold or offered for sale by the seller in the usual course of business immediately prior to the state of emergency, unless the price charged by the seller is attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller's supplier or other costs of providing the good or service during the state of emergency;
(2) In those situations where the increase in price is attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller's supplier or additional costs of providing the good or service during the state of emergency, the price represents an increase of more than 10 percent in the amount of markup from cost, compared to the markup customarily applied by the seller in the usual course of business immediately prior to the state of emergency.
A violation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 for the first offense and $20,000 for the second and subsequent offenses. Each individual sale of merchandise is considered a separate and distinct event.
I wrote about this Wednesday in the Events & Announcements that was emailed to you. You can read this week’s Events & Announcements with all these details by clicking HERE.
Remember, whenever I talk about solving the nation’s energy problems, it’s to avoid another gas shortage like we experienced in the mid-to-late-1970s. Any shortage that comes will be different for retailers than it was back then. When cars were lined up to get fuel from my Exxon station in 1979, I was able to add 40¢ a gallon to my profits. If that were today, and a state of emergency were declared by the President or the Governor, your profits would be limited and station owners would be in a tough spot. You would have your profits regulated in addition to having the amount of product you sell limited. It’s not a pretty picture and we have to avoid it at all costs; hence solving America’s energy problems before disaster strikes and you’re squeezed out of business.
If you’ve been looking at the calendar at all, you know there’s a very sad – but significant – anniversary fast approaching. In a little more than a week, America will pause to recognize the 10 year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. While I would love to go on and on about the patriotic and national significance of such a sad occasion, I want to warn you about the possible security issues that this anniversary brings.
I recently received a letter from a joint task force made up of NJSP, NJOHSP, and the FBI regarding the need for small business owners to be on the look out for suspicious behavior. They sent along a Terrorism Prevention Awareness Tips flier outlining some of the things service station and convenience store owners should be aware of. Though everyone should do their part, it’s especially important for professionals in our industry since the supply chain from refiner to retailer may be considered a serious terrorism target.
Please be on the alert and read the materials sent along to me from these officials by clicking HERE.
We’ll cover more about this and get into deeper detail in next week’s Road Warrior, but until then, be sure to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.
Again, per our most recent Events & Announcements e-newsletter, if you are still experiencing difficulties with power outages, deliveries or insurance issues, please click HERE to read Wednesday’s message and then contact NJGCA Headquarters so we can seek help for you.
Thanks for listening - See you next week!
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
As residents continue to deal with after effects, Obama declares N.J. a disaster area
On Wednesday, President Obama declared New Jersey a disaster area after Hurricane Irene ravaged the Garden State. This designation makes the state eligible for federal grants, low interest loans and other programs aimed at rebuilding affected areas. Individuals and business owners can begin applying for assistance by registering online at disasterassistance.gov, by web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or by calling (800) 621-FEMA (3362).
President seeks federal gas tax extension, urges Congress to act
With the current federal gas tax set to expire on September 30th, President Obama has asked Congress to extend the tax to continue funding transportation projects. While supporters state that extending the gas tax will protect nearly 1 million transportation- and construction-related jobs, there is a great deal of disagreement in Congress over how to extend the act. Though lawmakers hope to eventually reach a compromise, the national Highway Trust Fund faces insolvency next year and has incurred six years of declining balances. The federal gasoline tax, which was last raised in 1993, is 18.4 cent-per-gallon.
New Jersey now employs the lowest number of public workers in eight years
During the first 19 months of Governor Christie’s tenure in office, the Garden State shed about 29,100 state and local government jobs, the lowest level in eight years. Analysts state that the poor economy, a flood of retirements, and the Governor’s intention to shrink the size of government are all contributing factors in the decline. Labor statistics show that the current government payroll is at the lowest level than at any other point since September 2003, while 50,000 private sector jobs were added in the same period.
State government to help businesses hit by Hurricane Irene
On Monday, the Governor’s Office announced that the state will offer a slate of programs aimed at helping businesses and workers affected by Hurricane Irene. Among the services and programs to be offered are short-term financing, information on temporary space, and disaster unemployment benefits for workers who lost their job due to the hurricane. Any small business owner in need of help may contact the Business Action Center (BAC) by calling 1-866-534-7789 or gain access online at www.nj.gov/njbusiness. Click above to read more on these services.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES IN OUR “NEWS AROUND THE STATE” ARCHIVE
-ALL CLASSES WILL BE HELD AT NJGCA HEADQUARTERS-
66 Morris Avenue - Springfield, NJ 07081 (Union County)
ONE CLASS OPTIONS AVAILABLE:
1). Entire NJ ETEP Training Course
1. ENTIRE ETEP TRAINING COURSE
DESCRIPTION: This is the initial ETEP Certification course; the entire program, section 1 – 7. This is everything you need to become a licensed Emission Repair Technician. Tests are given through out the course and technicians that pass will receive a certificate to demonstrate they passed the New Jersey Emission Technician Education Program (ETEP). NJGCA has provided this program to the NJ Department of Transportation, UPS, and NJGCA members through out New Jersey. Our pass rate on this class is 100%.
OUR CLASS INCLUDES:
•Section 1 through 7 ETEP Training and NJ State Specific.
CLASS COST (INCLUDING MANUALS):
•NJGCA Member rates: $1,495.00
•NON-Member rates: $1,695.00
CLASS SCHEDULE: Eight Full Days of Training each Thursdays for eight consecutive weeks from 8:00am to 4:30pm:
•September 8, 15, 22, and 29
•October 6, 13, 20, and 27
A NOTE ON ALL CLASSES: FUTURE DATES WILL BE ADDED UPON REQUEST AND ACCORDING TO DEMAND. CONTACT DEBBIE at 973-376-0066 or DEBBIE@NJGCA.ORG TO LET HER KNOW YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TAKING A SPECIFIC CLASS. THIS WILL ALLOW US TO GAUGE YOUR NEEDS AND KEEP TRACK OF THOSE WISHING TO PARTICIPATE!!
**To Register call Debbie Hill 973-376-0066 x 203 or firstname.lastname@example.org**
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
TMP Energy Solutions
Another Way to Save on Your Energy Bills
We have had a number of NJGCA members successfully reduce their rate per kWh signing up through our energy saving program. We know it’s difficult to collect 12 months worth of previous electric bills to get an “accurate” analysis when comparing a variable rate to a fixed rate, but we now have another option available.
This new solution is a power purchase option; the other program is still in full force and has saved members thousands of dollars. If you sign up for the power purchase option, you will be grouped with other NJGCA members until the minimum KW demand is acquired. By pooling the member’s usage together, you will be able to take advantage, as large energy users do, and receive a lower kWh rate.
Each member will receive their own contract. Each member is responsible to sign and return the agreement the day it is received in order to secure the price for their group.
Please do your due diligence, so when you receive the proposal and the agreement you will be able to make an intelligent decision.
If by chance, you still want us to assess you bills, to give you a price to compare, we will require12 months of your most recent utility bills.
There are no bills required, but we would still like to have one bill per meter on file to check account #’s, meter #’s service addresses and other pertinent information incase there is a problem.
The term of the agreement is for 12 months. During this term period, you will have price protection against any energy price increases along with a low fixed kWh rate.
If you are interested in becoming part of this power purchase option, please contact Phil Apruzzi at the NJGCA.
Remember when you sign up your energy through the NJGCA Energy Program, TMP makes a considerable donation to the NJGCA Scholarship Fund through their proceeds. This has no affect on your rate, and costs you nothing out of pocket.
We hope to help hundreds of NJGCA members reduce their utility costs by participating in this and our other cost reduction programs. Our purpose, in the endeavor, is to help NJGCA members lower their energy costs while supporting the NJGCA Scholarship Fund.
Contact Phil Apruzzi at 973-376-0066 or email Phil at email@example.com. Mention that you are interested in saving money on your energy bills. NJGCA & TMP Energy Solutions will handle all the rest.
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
DEFENDING OUR MEMBERS.
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS.
ANSWER THE CALL & CONTRIBUTE TODAY!!
Promoting our agenda in Trenton is of utmost importance to NJGCA and our members.
To truly understand the importance of supporting our allies, consider our successes in Trenton:
However, in order to truly affect the debate, we must ensure our friends in the Legislature are re-elected. It is for this reason that your Association has established the NJGCA PAC.
For too long, the weight of funding our Political Action Committee, the arm of the Association responsible for political donations, has rested upon a few. This is not only unfair to those few members who have shouldered this burden, but means we are not utilizing our full strength to affect the debate in Trenton.
We defeated BELOW COST SELLING
We made history in getting FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL signed into law!
We have built large support for RIGHT TO REPAIR and got it passed out of the Assembly
We defended your small business against the false accusations of Attorney General Anne Milgram
We gained wide support to move New Jersey to an all PIF Inspection System and close the CIF lanes
...and MUCH MORE!!
In each instance, we achieved these goals with the help of our friends in the Legislature!
If every member contributes just $100.00 we will be able to provide the help necessary to ensure victory for our allies.
PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO:
66 Morris Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081
Please make your donation payable to NJGCA PAC
I understand that times are tough for all NJGCA members, but this is just as important as any battle we have fought in the past.
We have made great progress in Trenton. I hope that you will answer the call.
THE MEMBER TOOL BOX
ON THE NJGCA HOMEPAGE
MEMBER SAVINGS PAGE
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Find all our communications and search for old e-newsletters. Take a look!
NEWS AROUND THE STATE ARCHIVE
Need to catch up on events? Want to see what's going on? Find out here!
KNOW YOUR TERRITORY MANAGER!
Henry Darden: Territory Manager for Middlesex, Union, Somerset, Part of Essex (Southern Half)
Jack Leli: Territory Manager for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem
Bob Quirk: Territory Manager for Bergen, Hudson, Part of Essex (Northern Half)
Frank Stewart: Territory Manager for Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Passaic