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‘People are fed up.’ Demands for generators on the rise as power outages sweep the area

Posted at 3:49 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 10:51:09-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The severe weather in Metro Detroit continues to cause demand for generators in the area.

After the back-to-back storms this summer that led to power outages for days at a time, people began to open up their wallets and invest in backup power supplies.

Demands for these generators are so high, one home improvement store says they're sold out of generators in all of their stores throughout the county.

But one Lincoln Park father got lucky.

“We happened to be in a Sam's Club looking for some water and different things and stumbled on one in the aisle," Lincoln Park resident Jason Cassell said.

He purchased the last generator that day after severe weather shut off his power once again.

“With climate change and things going on in the world, things are clearly changing. So I think it's a good investment," he said.

A Dearborn father wasn't as lucky. Raas Qasem said he called dozens of stores in search of a generator. When he came into Joe Pizik Electric in Troy, he was again met with unluck.

“I called Lansing, I call Taylor, I call Toledo, they don’t have any generator," he said.

Maria Handlen, Vice President of Joe Pizik Electric says demand for generators at her store is through the roof.

“The business has tripled for generators,” she said. “We haven’t been able to keep up with the demand since COVID. Generac is behind on shipment. We are talking 5 to 6 months behind.”

In the past, shipments would take two weeks.

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In a new study by Global Industry Analysts Inc — reports show “the global market for Portable Generators is projected to reach US $2.7 Billion by 2024," due to factors including a “significant rise in extreme weather-associated power outages and increased business downtime."

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Generators range from under $1000 to thousands of dollars depending on what you’re trying to power.

At the moment Handlen says the most common fast-selling generators are portable generators and natural gas standby generators.

Portable generators can be purchased from the store.

“It was about $400,” Cassell said.

Generator Deaths
** ADVANCE FOR THE WEEKEND, MAY 19-20 ** Hardware supervisor Dwayne Shope, demonstrates features on a floor model generator at a Home Depot store in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, May 17, 2007. The federal government is now requiring that all new portable generators carry a warning about the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Natural gas standby generators are also a good choice, but it's more costly.

“Standbys average from $6,500 to 10 to 12 thousand dollars," Handlen said.

No matter which you purchase, safety is important.

“If it’s a portable generator, you want to make sure it's at least 15 feet away from your house," Detroit Fire Marshall Stevel Lee said.

He also says to leave the generator outside of your home.

“When you run a generator in your basement, which we have seen, it fills the home with carbon monoxide which will kill you.”

Lee advises anyone unaware of how to properly install a generator to find a licensed electrician to do so.

"If it's raining and you have a canopy that you can cover it with, that’s fine but not totally cover it with a tarp because you don’t want those fumes to build up.”

And Cassel says if you can find a generator and afford it, get it.

“It’s very helpful! It's humid with the weather so having the kids and whatnot, it's great. It cools everything so they can be comfortable," he said.