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Generators - Headline News



Generators - Headline News - Gasoline and diesel-powered generators are flying out of showrooms and off trucks as fast as they can be delivered.

Generator Business Lights Up: Miami Herald.com, 7/11/05
Gasoline and diesel-powered generators are flying out of showrooms and off trucks as fast as they can be delivered as South Floridians discover that no house is a home in this hurricane-prone region without a generator. And for many small businesses still lacking power, the back-up energy source is the key to survival. "If you live in South Florida, you need a house with an air conditioner, a washer and dryer, a refrigerator and a generator," said Allen, whose showroom opened within hours after Wilma's pass through the region on Oct. 24.

Whether its dealers such as Rick Case, Honda Powerhouse, large chains like Home Depot or generator manufacturer and distributor Americas Generators in Doral, establishments throughout South Florida are riding the post-hurricane generator boom. Allen said that Rick Case has sold 1,200 generators since Wilma. "In the first three days we sold almost 600 generators," he said. "We never thought there would be this much demand."

RECORD SALES
Rick Case expects to sell 2,000 generators this year, as many as Honda usually sells in the entire South Florida market. It has been able to meet the demand from residents and businesses because it drew up emergency plans in advance of the storm season.

Allen and the rest of the staff, for example, showed up for work as soon as Wilma's winds died down. Honda had trucks with generators positioned near Orlando ready to head south, and other dealers across the South also sent their inventory to South Florida.

With Honda generators ranging in price from $665 to $5,700, they are a pricey item. But customers were still snapping them up last week. Allen said two-thirds of the generators on a delivery truck that came in on Thursday had already been sold before the truck arrived.

Generators, in fact, are in such demand that already Floridians have begun to trade stories about generator theft. Ondra Jenkins, a Florida state trooper from Miami, said he thought he would avoid the long lines by waiting more than a week to go looking for a generator. "I don't have power at the house," said Jenkins, who has been working 12-hour shifts since the hurricane struck. "I don't know when they'll give me power, so I'm checking with Rick Case. I want one that is quiet."

DUAL CONCERNS
Increasingly what South Floridians want are generators that are not only quiet but highly fuel efficient. A small generator that can power some appliances, a television and the lights - but not central air conditioning - might run for 10 hours on a gallon of gasoline.

Home Depot stores in South Florida also have seen an increase in generator sales in the past two weeks, and at some stores customers began lining up before dawn the day after the hurricane to purchase generators and other emergency supplies. The frantic search for generators was played out at other establishments across the southern part of the state. "It was just insanity the past week," said Eric D. Johnston, senior vice president of Americas Generators, which manufactures and sells commercial-grade generators. Its office and a 30,000 square-foot warehouse are located west of Miami International Airport. "We had a line out the door. We were putting in 14 and 15 hours a day for the whole week," he said. And just like other companies, Americas was using a generator to stay open. Johnston said his main clients are businesseses, large and small. "When the power goes out, you can't answer the phones, the computer doesn't work, nothing works," Johnston said.

TWO-YEAR SURGE
The hurricanes that have crisscrossed the state and the Caribbean in the past two years have boosted sales at Americas Generators. "Our company is growing significantly, and the hurricanes account for roughly 15 percent of that," Johnston said. Americas Generators also sells throughout the Caribbean. International sales comprise 20 to 25 percent of business for the company, which will generate $25 million in sales this year, said Johnston.

Johnston said their generators range from as small as a Mini Cooper to as large as a semi-trailer, with prices as low as $4,000 for the smallest to $300,000 for a generator that could power a large business. High on his client list for the past few weeks have been gasoline stations that needed generators so their pumps would work and they could sell gas.

For Al Brenner, who got a generator from Americas Generators to power a Plantation gas station, it meant the station was back in business soon after the storm passed. "The station was able to continuously pump fuel. And even when the tank ran dry, we were able to get an immediate shipment from Port Everglades to begin pumping again. But the whole key was having the backup power to run the pumps," said Brenner, president of South Miami-based Al's Gas and Diesel.

Johnston said the company prepared for the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma not only by stocking up on generators but also by stockpiling diesel fuel so that customers would be able to run their generators in the first days after the storm. 'So many people have called up and thanked us and said, `You saved my business,' or 'You enabled my family to have a hot shower,' " he said.

Generators Keep Soup, Fridges On: PalmBeachPost.com, 27/10/05
The refrigerator was stocked. The DVD player was at the ready. The water was hot. But outside his West Palm Beach home, the loud WHRRRRRRRR of Lopez's 7,500-watt generator blared through the calm night like a freight train, reminding the others - the generator-less - who were sitting in the dark, with plans to go to bed early and try to sleep with the roar of electric joy all around them.

Unlike last year, when generators were a rare commodity for hurricane-hit Southeast Florida, they now buzz like gas-hungry mosquitos in neighborhoods throughout Palm Beach County, separating the haves and the have-nots - those with hot coffee in the morning, and those with only warm Gatorade.

Generators: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

The proliferation of generators was partly fueled by the government. For some South Floridians generators, and the gas to feed them, were the only assistance they got last year from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Generators were also a major attraction for Florida's first tax-free hurricane holiday in June, which was approved by Gov. Jeb Bush. Home Depot Inc. spokesman Don Harrison said the demand for generators was so high after Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne that the company began preparing for storm season in March by stocking up on generators and asking their manufacturers to do the same.

And while neighbors of the noisy machines may whine about the disturbance, Lopez, whose Spanish-style bungalow sits near the normally noisy railroad tracks, said he hasn't heard any complaints. He's feeding his $800 beast every eight hours and bought 40 gallons of gas before Hurricane Wilma to keep it running. "If they are complaining, I don't care," Lopez said about neighbors. "I need the generator." "If they're complaining, it's just because they don't have one," added David Lovonne, a neighbor of Lopez's who's benefiting from the generator.

"When I heard the generators last year, I was envious. I wasn't mad," Davis said. And Davis was humble about his electricity. He's using it to heat baby formula, for goodness sake. Nilo and Esperanza Alonso of West Palm Beach quieted any pending generator complaints by storing neighbors' food in their refrigerator and making meals for people. George Hooper of Lake Worth was also sharing his electric elation. He bought his generator 10 years ago in Chicago when an ice storm cut off his lights. Tuesday was the first time he's fired it up since 1996.

New Gets Through Despite Blackout: CBS.com, 03/12/05
The big blackout is an even bigger story, which set news media of all types – including the Internet – scrambling to keep their audiences informed, while dealing with technical obstacles ranging from no power to no phones – the tool which is the backbone of so many news stories.

For some, backup plans made after previous blackouts and after Sept. 11, 2001, paid off as stations were able to stay on the air, while newsrooms stayed on the story.

The three major TV networks all had backup power in place. Dan Rather was the only "big three" anchorman not on vacation. With CBS's diesel generators functioning, he broke into normal programming about 4:30 p.m. and did the CBS Evening News from the studio.

The studio used by CBSNews.com completely lost power, but the staff was quickly shifted to a location in the CBS Broadcast Center, which had power thanks to a backup generator. As a result, there was virtually no interruption in the Web site's operation.

NBC trumpeted its own advance planning as anchor Brian Williams laid out the situation in his opening remarks on the "NBC Nightly News." "It is only thanks to emergency generators and a whole lot of scrambling here that we are able to say this Thursday night, Good evening from NBC News headquarters in midtown Manhattan, where we are in the midst of what appears to be a colossal and history-making blackout," said Williams.

In Washington, ABC broadcast a special "World News Tonight" report anchored by Ted Koppel. Network spokesman Jeffrey Schneider says backup generators were working in New York and the control room was functioning, but the network decided to go with a "more secure" operation in Washington.

The Fox News Channel continued to function from New York with backup power, according to Fox spokesman Rob Zimmerman.

The New York Times had auxiliary power at its 43rd Street headquarters, and also made up for lost power by reducing the size of Friday’s paper. Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis says the paper’s printing plant in Queens was knocked out, sending the edition through a double run instead at a plant in Edison, N.J.

On Broadway, the show did not go on. Twenty-two shows - 19 musicals and three plays - went dark. The luckiest show in town was "Say Goodnight Gracie," which did not have a Thursday evening performance.

California IT staff prepare for more blackouts, February 27, 2001
Rolling blackouts - an emergency measure aimed at stretching limited power resources by cutting electricity to specified areas in roughly two-hour blocks throughout the state - have caused several firms to dust off Y2K disaster plans and to implement other contingency efforts.

In response to the continuing threat of blackouts, Mel Reeves, CIO at ARB Inc., an international maker of oil pipelines in Lake Forest, California, recently installed an additional uninterruptible power supply - a backup battery system that supplies power for about one hour - and two backup generators. The new system, which cost $40,000, also notifies Reeves of a power loss so that IT staff can get to the site to properly shut down computer systems before the alternate power runs out. One of ARB's sites in Pittsburg, Calif., lost power for 65 minutes last month. That unplanned outage caused damage to computer systems, compromised security and resulted in the loss of a day's worth of transaction data, Reeves said.

After suffering through a blackout, Amsterdam Art Inc., a chain of art supply stores in Berkeley, Calif., bought a portable gas generator to keep its warehouse and stores' computing environment running during future power outages, said Lewis Moore, vice president of administration. Moore said he didn't want the firm's point-of-sale server to crash and lose customer spending and analytics data.

Still in New Orleans
I am Donald A. Sauviac, Jr. a criminal defense attorney. As of Thursday Sept 1, 2005 at 7:49 a.m. I am holed up in a third generation family home located at Weiblen and Vicksburg Streets in the Lakeview area of New Orleans. My wife and four daughters left just before the storm and managed to make it to Memphis, Tenn. where they have three rooms with friends who left Metairie. I have two collie dogs and a bird here with me. The dogs are holding up on the second story flat roof with the generator. I am on the second story of the house a converted double. I have a 22 ft. pontoon boat tied up on the side street. I have plenty of food and water. I keep using the generator to charge up my phone and listen to the radio to figure out what is going on around me. I just moved into this house from a house in Metairie, which is known for flooding. As fate would have it the Metairie house that was up for sale is high and dry with no apparent damage.

The house I'm in had calf high water up to the second step of the inside stairwell. The water has subsided in the last day it only covers the first step. For the past few days I was charging on neighbors cell phone with the generator and used that phone occasionally to get a call out. At this time I have cell service in the very early a.m. and late p.m. I even have wireless Internet service which just started working. My wife and children are frantic they want me to leave but I won't. This was my maternal grandparent's house that I as a child evacuated to during hurricane Betsy when my parents’ home in Gentily went underwater and we were evacuated by boat...

I am from Mobile, Ala. I went to Bogalusa, La., which is 90 miles NE of New Orleans, on Friday to spend time with my husband his family to help them move. By the time we realized that Katrina was headed our way it was too late. He has elderly grandparents who need oxygen, insulin, and is in a wheelchair and we could not leave. I was forced to remain in Bogalusa to ride out the storm. New Orleans is not the only affected area in Louisiana. Bogalusa was torn to shreds. My family is using a generator to supply oxygen to my husband's grandmother. However due to gas shortages, I fear that gas will soon run out for the generator which is a necessity for her to live. I've never seen such destruction. Brand new buildings torn to shreds.

Living in Minnesota means hurricanes won't put out our lights. But a generator can restore power taken away by ice storms, blizzards and tornadoes

Hospitals Still Run on Generators, Palm Beach Post, 26/10/05
Most Palm Beach County hospitals were operating on generator power Tuesday and there was growing concern that Florida Power and Light might not be able to restore electricity for at least another week...The hospital has been on generator power since Monday but has enough fuel for its generator to last for 18 days.

While hospitals generally should have at least a week's worth of fuel to run their generators, there was worry that the delay in getting power back would delay getting operations back to normal. Working on generator power means hospitals must take steps to conserve power and water.

Cingular Wireless has put in place emergency measures to ensure its wireless service in Florida does not break down in the event Hurricane Wilma hits the southern part of the state, the company said Thursday. As part of its emergency preparations, the wireless carrier has housed recovery equipment in four areas-Sunrise, Margate, Riviera Beach and Lakeland-in case there are any disruptions in service in the wake of the storm. In addition, it has set up eight portable cellular sites in Lakeland, and it has stocked up on extra fuel. Cingular is also keeping ready hundreds of portable power generators in addition to those stationed at nearly 400 of its cellular sites in the state.







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