Hurricane Beryl leaves Houstonians without power scrambling to find generators to get through heat

Pooja Lodhia Image
Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Beryl leaves Houstonians without power scrambling to find generators
Hardware stores have been packed as people scramble to find ways to deal with extreme heat, and generators are the hottest ticket in town.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The signs are the same at hardware stores all over Houston: No generators, no propane.

"We've got the windows open. We've got the doors open. My grandkids are just running back and forth. We sit outside to keep it cool, but it's really hot," Rene Ramirez told ABC13.

Ramirez said he had been to four stores, trying to find a generator.

More than 1.5 million Houstonians were still without power Tuesday, the day after Hurricane Beryl made landfall.

"With generators, especially whole home generators, it was what you would call a luxury good, but here in Houston, it is a necessity," David Koster with Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning, and Electrical said.

The company has set up shop in a hotel in northwest Houston. The business and most employees are also without power, and calls are only expected to increase this week.

"I think the real test is that when power starts restoring, we always see an uptick in calls because things are wrong that we're not aware of and then surge, and all those factors play in," he said.

Preparation is key when it comes to severe weather. Whole-home generators cost thousands of dollars and can take months to install and obtain permits.

You can find a portable generator for a couple hundred dollars, but to avoid fires or electric shock, you'll still need an electrician to set it up with your electric panel.

"We need to install what's called an interlock on your panel and then also an inlet where you can plug the portable generator in," Koster said.

In Houston, shelves will likely be stocked up again by next week.

"I can't find nothing. It's hard, but you gotta keep on going. Can't give up," Ramirez said.

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