NewsLocal News


Generators flying off shelves as people prepare for a potential power outage

Posted at 6:49 PM, Oct 10, 2019

As PG&E continues their power shutoffs in Northern California, some Central Coast residents say they're worried about it happening here.

"Well, the power outages scare me, just like anybody else. Especially if it's over a day or two," said Mary Lou Pinckert, Arroyo Grande resident.

To avoid being without power for hours or days, people are turning to generators as a backup for their refrigerators or other appliances.

"We've looked at the generator system, not because we're afraid of wildfires here but because of the way the power grid is designed and we may end up with a power outage here that has nothing to do with us here in the local area but everything to do with some place 50 miles away," said Kaye Riggs, Grover Beach resident.

Hardware stores in the area say they're feeling the impact and are trying to keep up with demand.

"We have had a recent increase of generators. We have people coming in buying all different sizes. We're having trouble keeping them on the shelves," said Jourdan Ratliff, Assistant Store Manager at Miner's Ace Hardware in San Luis Obispo.

For customers, having back-up power is going to cost you.

"$300 to $1,100 for something off the shelf," said Jess Aimlay, Assistant Manager at Lowe's in Santa Maria.

Some say they're worth the price.

"We do think it's well worth it just because who wants to be without power. We're electrically dependent, that's our society, and we're looking at a system that will probably cost us $5,000 all in," Riggs said.

PG&E warns, if you do purchase a generator, make sure it's being run safely.

"If you have a generator, make sure a licensed electrician has properly installed it because improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to our own crews from backfeed," said Mark Mesesan, PG&E spokesman.

If they are properly installed, it's clear people think generators can help.

Miner's Ace Hardware in San Luis Obispo says they have also seen an increase in sales of items like batteries, flashlights, and first aid kits as people look to prepare for an outage.

San Luis Obispo County is safe from PG&E power shutoffs for now, but PG&E says people should prepare for outages that could go on for several days.