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Are you ready for when your power goes out?

With people still working, learning and shopping from home, everyone must prepare earlier for outages that accompany severe weather.

(NAPSI) -- More Americans suffered extended power outages in 2020 than any year since Superstorm Sandy struck the New York area in 2012, according to Generac, owners of Power Outage Central, a real-time outage tracking service that monitors outages throughout the United States.

Earlier this month, there were three areas in Champaign-Urbana without electrical service thanks to a set of Mylar birthday balloons that came in contact with power lines.

Photo: Artem Podrez/Pexels

Mylar balloons are metallic and conduct electricity, resulting in surges and shorts that can create power outages, start fires, and cause significant damage to the electric grid. Approximately 1,200 Ameren customers were without power for three hours.

Back in November of last year, power was out for about three hours in the south part of Champaign and another area covering Campustown. In eastern Urbana, about 180 customers were without power at the same time. Over 1,500 customers were without power during the incident.

"In 2020, more than one out of three Americans experienced a power outage, and the U.S. power grid suffered more outage hours than it has in years," said Russ Minick, chief marketing officer for Wisconsin-based Generac. "With people still working, learning and shopping from home, everyone must prepare earlier for outages that accompany severe weather."

Outages are statistically much more common than many other threats to the home, according to Generac’s data. In fact, while about 12% of homes are at risk of flooding according to the First Street Foundation’s flood database1, every home is at risk of losing power. Unlike with floods, however, there are multiple ways to safeguard against loss of electrical power.

"There are three key paths to protecting power supply, said Simon Allen, president of Allied Energy, a backup power solution provider in San Diego, Calif. "These include portable generators, which are a short-term solution; home standby generators; and solar energy storage systems. Solar energy storage systems and home standby generators are permanently installed and can provide secure sources of power for longer periods."

Each system requires advance planning, including local permitting and installation, said Allen, but secure power is worth it.

"Life gets very primitive and dangerous when the power is out. With outages lasting longer and occurring more often, all against the backdrop of people working and learning from home, our customers are turning to Generac home standby generators and PWRcell battery storage systems. Effectively, they’re making their homes a sanctuary against Mother Nature’s threats."

Picking the correct solution varies for every homeowner, said Stephen Cruise of Generator Supercenter, a Texas-based provider of power solutions. "A generator will run nearly indefinitely on propane or natural gas," he said. "With correct power management, a solar energy storage system can also power the whole home for extended periods. It comes down to preference, local codes and budget. The best place to start is finding a great local installer who can help make the decision easy."

"Authorized dealers and installers know local codes and are factory trained," said Minick. "They’re experts in local needs and can provide a one-stop solution for every homeowner."

All the resources needed to acquire and install backup power are available at Prices fit most budgets and vary depending on factors such as the size of home, the electricity needed for backup and preference for solar or generator-based options.

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