The New York City Council is considering a pair of bills that would tamp down on the sale of uncertified and refurbished lithium ion batteries used in many scooters and electric bikes, amid an ongoing surge in fires.

During a public hearing Monday, members of the Council Committee on Fire and Emergency Management, considered a package of bills that would increase regulations over uncertified batteries, which are cheaper than laboratory certified ones and often used by delivery workers.

One bill up for debate Monday was introduced earlier this fall by Council Member Osvaldo Feliz and would ban the sale of uncertified ebike and scooter batteries. Another proposed by Council Member Gale Brewer would ban the sale of second-hand lithium ion batteries that have been reconstructed or rebuilt. Both bills would levy fines of up to $1,000 for each violation.

Council Member Joann Ariola, who oversees the fire committee, said the specifics of the bills are still up for debate.

“Whether we have to make these bills different, tighter, better before we vote on them, we will,” she said. “What the main focus is to make sure that the residents of this city and the people who are in business in this city…are safe.”

Fire officials blame more than 188 fires this year alone on lithium ion batteries, FDNY officials said. All told, those blazes have injured 139 people and killed six. That’s up from 79 injuries and four deaths last year.

Testifying at the hearing Monday, Thomas Currao, the acting Chief of Fire Prevention at the FDNY, described the particular challenge fires caused by lithium ion batteries pose to firefighters aiming to contain them.

“There's so much energy that is into that lithium ion mixture, basically a box of chemicals, that when it goes wrong for multiple reasons, it sets off a thermal runaway,” he said. “It's a chemical chain reaction. It rapidly heats up to the point where the heat cannot be contained. One battery will propagate fire to another battery, to another battery and you really have an explosive type of event occur.”

Despite the danger uncertified lithium ion batteries pose, outright bans have been met with backlash. Over the summer, the city’s public housing authority considered banning the batteries, as well as e-bikes and scooters, anywhere on their properties. The agency backed down from the ban, following public outcry.

Advocates and delivery workers have urged the city to support safer alternatives, such as public charging stations or publicly-funded battery swap networks, to encourage New Yorkers to use micro-mobility devices in a safer way, rather than punishing them for using a greener alternative to cars and trucks.

Hildalyn Colon-Hernandez, with the Los Deliveristas Unidos and Workers’ Justice Project raised similar concerns in written testimony submitted to the Council Monday.

“This bill would penalize thousands of Deliveristas who used that extra cash to afford new equipment or sustain their families,” she said, once again calling on the city to support efforts like public electric battery charging stations. “NYC must set standards that keep New Yorkers and Deliveristas safe instead of penalizing individuals who use this equipment to work or even transport themselves to places.”

The Council is considering additional bills, including one that would require the FDNY to report regularly on fires caused by lithium ion batteries, and another that would require the FDNY to deploy a public information campaign about fire safety and lithium ion batteries.

This story has been updated to include testimony from Monday's hearing.