NEWINGTON - The impending devastation of Hurricane Florence had people in the Carolinas calling on their northern neighbors for electrical power this week.
Connecticut Home Generator Systems and CT Electric Co. in Newington are shipping generators by the truckload, not only to places in the South where portable generators sold out days ago, but also to local residents.
“Whenever we get a weather event like this it makes how vulnerable we are to Mother Nature,” Ed Ingalls, owner of Connecticut Home Generator Systems, said Thursday morning, as phones in his Pane Road showroom rang. “None of us realize how vulnerable we are to tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms and things of this nature until they actually happen.”
Weather forecasters were predicting a 13-foot storm surge and 80-plus-mph winds even though Florence had been downgraded to Category 2 as it neared landfall Thursday.
Connecticut is unlikely to feel significant effects from the storm, but residents with family and friends in the hurricane’s direct path are still preparing.
“They want to be able to get them a generator if they need it,” Ingalls explained.
The problem with going into a frenzy at the last minute, he pointed out, is that it’s not proactive.
“It’s like an insurance policy. It’s no help if you get it after the fact. The idea is to have a generator installed prior to a catastrophic event.”
Depending on how much a homeowner is willing to spend, generators can supply power to almost every appliance, light and system there is. Some people just want a guarantee that they won’t be left in the cold and darkness, but others, like people who rely on medical equipment every day, need a fail-safe.
“Generators used to be a luxury, something rich people bought,” Ingalls pointed out. “In the last few years, the prices have gone down and they’ve become a necessity.”
An automatic, stand-by model can be purchased and installed in a home for as low as $6,000. However, it’s the portable systems with a manual electric start that are currently being sought. These are cheaper and used mainly in emergency response. They operate on gasoline and can be stored in a garage, basement or shed until needed, then wheeled out for use.
“It’s a tremendous investment,” Ingalls said. “It gives people that comfort and peace of mind.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.