Yergin Critiques Government, Private Sector Response To Sandy

Looking north from Bay Street in Clifton as residents of nearby blackout zone wait their turn to fill their fuel cans on the first sunny day after Sandy on November 3, 2012. Wikipedia image by Jim.Anderson
It's been more than two weeks since Hurricane Sandy flattened the Northeast, but long lines persist at New York gas stations. That's prompting fresh calls to enhance U.S. energy security.

New Jersey ended gasoline rationing Tuesday morning. But rationing is still in place in New York City and on Long Island. For energy economist and IHS vice chair Daniel Yergin, it’s a painfully familiar sight.

“The lesson that was learned in Katrina and Rita so vividly is that you can’t get gasoline out of a gasoline pump unless the gasoline station has electricity. This is what happens when you have what I call an integrated energy shock, where everything gets hit at the same time.”

Yergin gives the power industry credit for getting workers from around the country in place ahead of the storm, in order to speed repairs. But he says the response has suffered from a lack of clear communication between different levels of government and the private sector. He also says that while rationing may have held down the cost of gas, it’s made it more difficult to restore adequate supplies to the region.

“We have to, as a country, reach a point where we don’t have to relearn the lessons every time we have a major disruption of some kind.”

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...