When inclement weather strikes, we are all reminded of the frequency and magnitude of power outages. Residences and businesses with standby generators are well-positioned to better withstand whatever Mother Nature dishes out in the way of severe thunderstorms, ice storms, blizzards, hurricanes and even tornadoes.
High Winds Across Many States
In March, many standby residential and commercial generators were pressed into service across many states when windy, stormy weather hit the eastern two-thirds of the country. Power outages affected more than a million businesses and residences when widespread high winds swept from the Midwest all the way to the East Coast during a three-day period from March 8-10, 2017.
In Wisconsin, Wisconsin Public Service reported 93,000 customers in central and northern Wisconsin lost power, according to WBAY. Winds gusted to 53 mph in Green Bay and 69 mpg in Menominee. Michigan’s largest utility, DTE Energy, called it the largest weather event in its history, according to the Detroit Free Press. More than one million utility customers lost power in Michigan alone. Days later, more than 100,000 utility customers went without service as the East Coast was pummeled by a late-season snowstorm.
Survey Suggests Power Outages Common
These major weather events remind us of just how common power outages can be. According to General Electric, a Harris survey commissioned by Briggs and Stratton suggested that about seven in ten American adults experienced a power outage of 12 hours duration over a two-year period. Forty percent of survey respondents said they had to deal with spoiled food, and 29 percent faced emergency expenditures for everything from flashlights to firewood. Thirteen percent lost income when they had to take time off of work. More than one in ten respondents reported property damage, and one in twelve had to get a hotel room.
The survey also revealed that 16 percent respondents invested in a generator, but only after the power went out. Imagine the expense and inconvenience that could have been avoided if respondents had arranged for emergency power before facing an outage. Those that incurred specific losses reported an average of $76 spent on emergency supplies up to $1,916 invested in property damage. Spoiled food cost those affected an average of $160, and lost wages cost an average of $310.
When individuals buy generators during a power outage, they are forced to invest in portable units that do not offer the conveniences of standby generators. In many instances, homeowners and business people are better off putting the money invested in portable units into standby generators instead.
Portable generators typically require fuel storage as well as refueling during outages. Also, it is necessary to turn it off and on, even if it means going out in the storm.