Here’s Why There’s a Generator Shortage This Summer—and Here’s What to Do
Volatile weather conditions have caused an increase in demand for generators. What are your options if you can’t find one for your household?
Severe weather conditions around the U.S. in early 2021 have triggered a surge in demand for generators, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, a report by Fior Markets estimates that the global portable generator market, which was $1.8 billion in 2020, will grow to $3.04 billion by 2028. Read on to learn why the demand for generators is skyrocketing, and find out how to navigate storm season if you can’t get your hands on one.
What Is Causing the Generator Shortage?
In February 2021, Texas experienced a winter storm that caused power outages across the state. More than 4.5 million households and commercial properties were left without power. This resulted in a higher than average demand for generators in Texas as well as across the country as others prepared for potential blackouts in their regions.
During the February crisis, generators became almost impossible to come by. In a conversation with CNBC, Aaron Jagdfeld, CEO of generator manufacturer Generac, said, “We can’t make them fast enough, and we’re doing everything we can to supply more product in the market.” According to the company, demand for generators has been high since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the recent summer heat waves and the prospect of an active hurricane season, demand has soared even higher. In June, 12newsnow reported that local retailers estimate customers may have to wait until 2022 to receive their standby generators.
Check the Big-Box Stores
While whole house generators, or standby generators, aren’t readily available these days, you may still find portable models at major national retailers like Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon. Portable generators typically provide between 10 and 12 hours of power, which comes in handy during storms and other natural disasters. These devices aren’t, however, a match for whole-home standby generators, which can power a home for weeks, if necessary—and if the fuel holds out.
Consider Local Alternatives
If you’re unable to find either a portable or standby generator at the large national stores, check with local retailers to see if they have any in stock. If that still leaves you empty-handed, try shopping for secondhand generators through local buy-and-sell groups on social media. Some businesses also rent out generators, but demand will be brisk if your region is experiencing extreme weather conditions.
For a generator-free alternative, consider equipping your home with a solar power system as a long-term solution for reducing your reliance on the power grid.
How to Get Through a Power Outage Without a Generator
If you can’t get your hands on a generator before the next blackout in your area, these tips could help:
- Put perishable food in the freezer. Fresh food lasts only 4 hours in a refrigerator during a power outage, according to foodsafety.gov, but up to 48 hours in a freezer.
- Store food elsewhere. See if local friends or family members have power—and extra fridge space. Also consider checking with local businesses that still have power to see if they will store food for you.
- Make sure you have drinking water. Some home water systems—for instance, electric well pumps—won’t operate properly when the power is out. Keep a supply of drinking water on hand so you and your family can stay hydrated.
- Stock up on essentials. Make sure your home is supplied with candles, flashlights, batteries, and first aid supplies.
- Be prepared to leave your home. If your home is not habitable without power, consider renting a hotel room or heading to a shelter as needed.