The Importance of Backup Power

This winter has been one of the coldest and snowiest in decades. That’s meant icy, dangerous roads, missed days of school and work, and for countless people in Pennsylvania, a devastating loss of power.

An ice storm in the area caused Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO), the power utility that serves 1.6 million people over 21,000 square-miles and six counties, to lose power—power that so many homes and businesses rely on. In fact, 700,000 homes and businesses were left without power, and a week later, over 8,000 still did not have their power back.

It was a record power outage for the area. More people lost power during this storm than the same area saw during Hurricane Sandy—and as opposed to Sandy, it’s much colder and harsher now. So how could something like this happen? While Mother Nature is unpredictable and out of our control, what we do know is that the power lines are above ground and the power grid is very old, making it very susceptible to damage. The utility company was so overwhelmed that they had to call in crews from other states and Canada to help repair the lines.

Thankfully, we were able to respond and help many people. Every single one of our rental generators was rented, and we had our technicians working round the clock, helping to bring backup power to those who needed it. We had a waiting list for our rental generators and were swamped with service calls, giving priority to health care facilities and sending a 1,000 kW unit to Villanova University. We were working hard to meet everyone’s needs.

We are still busy as a result of this outage, and we know that winter isn’t over yet—more ice and snow could surely come. Eventually we will experience a demand for the purchase of generators, so people can have them on hand. But the real lesson to be learned here is awareness and preparedness. If such a large utility company can be affected, people need to realize that we are all susceptible to power loss, and everyone needs to be prepared.

Having backup power can make all the difference. This means generators in homes and businesses. 700,000 people were left in the dark—literally and figuratively—and they want to know what’s being done to prevent this from happening again. We hope everyone will take note, and help prevent these people from going through this again and again.

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