Generators offer solutions to power outages

By: Sarah Wojcik | Metro | Published July 12, 2022

 Consumers are turning to generators for power in emergency situations.

Consumers are turning to generators for power in emergency situations.

Photo provided by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute


METRO DETROIT — When the power goes out due to summer storms or other year-round emergencies, a generator is a valuable investment to ensure the lights will stay on.

According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, consumers are turning to generators for power in year-round emergency situations, such as tornadoes; hurricanes; wind, snow and ice events; and rain and flooding events.

“Consumers want and need reliable power. When the electricity goes out, generators keep your home or business humming with light and power,” OPEI President and CEO Kris Kiser said in a prepared statement. “Today’s generators offer a variety of features, and there is a product for every need.”

Kiser added that consumers, while shopping for a generator, should also consider other equipment that could be useful to clean up after challenging weather, such as water pumps, chain saws, pole pruners, outdoor-rated extension cords and fuel cans.

Royal Oak Director of Public Services and Recreation Aaron Filipski recently successfully requested the purchase of a 320-kilowatt tow-behind emergency generator, which runs on diesel fuel, to improve the city’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities in light of recent long-duration power interruptions, for an amount not to exceed $177,020 from Wixom-based United Rentals.

While the city of Royal Oak has natural gas and diesel fuel permanent backup generators installed at the Police Department and City Hall, respectively, most city facilities previously did not have a contingency for immediate delivery.

The tow-behind generator, which was built for another entity that was unable to secure funding, included 1,400 feet of power cable and was reviewed by the staff electrician to verify it would be capable of serving all city facilities, including those with large electrical demands, such as the John Lindell Ice Arena.

“We have deployed it at a number of power outages at buildings,” Filipski said. “If we needed it for a nonemergency use, we could use it at a festival if we needed.”

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute is an international trade association that represents manufacturers and suppliers of outdoor power equipment, small engines, battery power systems, portable generators, utility and personal transport vehicles, and golf carts.

For more information about OPEI, visit or call (703) 549-7600.


Tips from Outdoor Power Equipment Institute for safe generator use include:

• Determine how many kilowatts are needed for powering essential items during emergencies, such as cellphones, refrigerators and medical equipment.

• Research generators online or ask questions with staff before purchasing generators, keeping in mind safety features and manufacturer fueling and care instructions.

• Understand generator features, including circuit-breaker-protected outlets for overload protection, larger fuel tanks for extra running time, integrated fuel gauges to monitor fuel levels and prevent power interruptions, low-tone mufflers for quieter operation, and fold-down handles and wheels for easier mobility.

• Purchase an outdoor-rated extension cord certified to carry a generator’s power load that is long enough to safely place generators outside the home.

• Identify where to place a generator outside so that it is away from windows, doors and vents to prevent carbon monoxide from entering a home.

• Never place generators inside homes, garages, porches or breezeways.

• Determine how to secure generators.

• Install a carbon monoxide detector and be sure to keep extra batteries on hand for it.

• Keep generators dry, and identify how to cover and vent them. Model-specific tents or generator covers can be purchased online, at home centers or at hardware stores.

• Keep the right fuel on hand before a storm hits, and use appropriate containers designed to hold fuel that seal well.

• Store fuel in a safe place away from heat sources and out of the reach of children. Label the can with the date of purchase and ethanol content, check filled cans regularly and replenish them if necessary, and remember that fuel more than 30 days old should not be used in outdoor power equipment.

• Use the type of fuel recommended by the generator manufacturer. According to OPEI, it is illegal to use any fuel with more than 10% ethanol in outdoor equipment. For more information about proper fueling for outdoor power equipment, visit