Residential power outages, often caused by strong storms or other natural disasters, do more than leave households in the dark. They can also do damage to a family’s pocketbook.
The U.S. Department of Energy contends that power outages cost Americans a total of $150 billion each year as recent as 2009. In one week alone, an average of 3.5 million Americans will experience a power outage, according to figures from the Edison Electric Institute.
September is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). All month long, GE Generator Systems—a coalition member of FEMA’s Ready campaign—is educating the public about the importance of emergency preparedness.
“A homeowner can incur greater costs from a single prolonged power outage than from investing in preparation measures, such as installing a standby generator system before an emergency occurs,” said Amanda Grandy, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton® Standby Power, which is the exclusive licensee of GE Generator Systems. “A standby generator protects a home’s appliances from losing functionality when utility power is knocked offline and gives families peace of mind after a hurricane or strong storm.”Without sufficient home preparedness, damage from a power outage can leave a lasting financial impact on a family from costs associated with food loss and home repair. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, refrigerated food tends to go bad after four hours without power, so any type of thawing meat or poultry should be discarded, along with soft cheeses and dairy. For a family with a full-stocked freezer and fridge, those guidelines could easily result in more than $200 worth of tossed food. In addition to spoiled food replacement, costs typically associated with a power outage include basement and appliance repairs, and extended hotel stays. GE Home Generator Systems found that the average costs associated with a single power outage can equate to:
- $150.25 per night for a full-service hotel, according to US News
- $21,890 to repair a 2,000-square-foot home’s basement under 5 inches of water, according to Floodsmart.gov
- $3,000 to professionally remove household mold, according to MoldReporter.org