Hundreds of thousands of people are without power this Christmas in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, as winter storm Harold slammed into the Northeast on Christmas Eve. Heavy rains and damaging winds left power lines down and families are now left waiting on when power will be restored. They’re without heat, hot water, refrigeration, lighting and, in some cases even plumbing.
59,753 customers were without power in Pennsylvania. 29,896 energy consumers lost power in the state of Connecticut, nearly 20,000 homes lost energy in New York State, and New Jersey reported more than 54,000 power outages.
As those in the Northeast wait for their electricity providers to restore service (not easy on a holiday weekend given limited staffing) some might want to consider a generator or battery backup to get them through the coming days–and, any future storms.
We’re one of those families, actually. We live in the Northeast and learned last year how important it was to have a generator. Just in case. It makes going through the rest of the winter a bit easier…and, best of all, our generator didn’t break the bank.
How to Buy a Cost-Effective Generator
When the power goes out, the only solution is a generator or battery backup. Both can be extremely expensive. Big generators that can power an entire residence and start automatically as soon as power is lost are quite costly, ranging from $6,000-$10,000+ installed, depending on size.
There is a more cost-effective alternative that will range in cost from $1,500-$2,000 installed. These are the portable generators that can power the essentials of a household including heat, hot water, and refrigeration. Depending on your home’s power requirements, a portable generator for $700 to $800 like this on Amazon may even be able to power the house.
The additional, essential cost is having a licensed electrician wire a generator panel to your primary electrical panel, installing an outside connection to plug the generator into the system. This can range in price from $700 to $1,000+.
To activate the generator and restore power:
- Roll the portable generator outside and place it in a well-ventilated area.
- Start the motor.
- Follow the instructions on turning off the main power breaker into the house.
- Plug the generator cord into the outside receptacle on your home and plug the other end into the generator.
- Then, follow the instructions to turn on the generator breakers.
It’s critical that your licensed electrician walk you through these steps so that you’re well prepared ahead of any storm.
You now have temporary power to see you through the outage until city power is restored.
I suspect this will come in handy at my home both this winter and during the summer. It’s not uncommon to lose power for extended periods where we live, so I’m hopeful that this will be a cost-effective solution.