1. A few things to take away from all of this

    – Texas is a conservative state in general. And that is much better than the liberal shit hole I live in (Massachusetts). Texas generally will use tax money better than liberal run states. However, all politicians waste money and fail to spend the correct amount of money on the right things.

    – You can lobby the politicians. Write articles. All good things to do. I agree with doing those. Also become self sufficient. While it sucks to have to spend $ 1,500 to $ 2,000 bucks on a backup power source, think of it as an investment. In a bad situation, (lengthy cold, power outage, etc), a generator will be more than worth its weight in gold. And worth far more than whatever it costs in the paper money the Government keeps printing.

    – Pick up a nice Honda, Yamaha or even a harbor freight if that is all you can afford. Store some 100% non ethanol gas (store about 5 to 10 gallons) and get a few heavy duty extension cords. Make sure you have a few electric space heaters to plug into the generator (space heaters heat small spaces and wear out over time, so have a few, small Honeywell ones at large box retailers run about 50 bucks a piece). For about $ 1,500 to $ 2,000 you can have a generator, cords, extra gas and a few space heaters. If you can spring for the extra cash, have an electrician come and install a switch on the house to let you run your panel in a power outage. A small generator won’t run everything, but you can run lights, water heater, space heaters etc off of the panel.

    – If you live in an apartment and can’t store gas – then you could go the battery route. There are solar / battery bank generators. These are not real true generators, but these models allow you to charge the generator aka battery bank in your house when you have power to store it. You can also charge it in your car with an adaptor. You can even charge using solar. Though less ideal than a gas generator, you can use this in situations were fuel is scarce or where you maybe live in an apartment where you can’t store a gas generator and extra gas.

    Hopefully these states will get real when it comes to the power needs of people, but always have a backup in case you need it. What is your comfort worth? Some people have sleep machines, or medicine that needs refrigeration, a generator could be a life saver in these power outage situations.

    1. We moved into this house with electric heat, in summer 2005. A neighbor said they hadn’t lost power for more than a few hours at a time, in the 17 years he’d lived here.

      That following Thanksgiving weekend we lost power for 4 days, and Christmas weekend we lost power for 3 days, with 2 feet of snow on the ground.

      I purchased a Generac stand-by generator the next summer and had an electrician plug it in. It keeps the well house pumping and the water hot. In the kitchen, the stove and refrigerator stay operational, and we have some lights to work with.

      It does not provide enough power for heat, however. Higher rated units are more available now.

      It works great and we haven’t lost power for more than a few hours at a time since then…

      1. That generator kept you comfortable.

        You mentioned “electric heat” – sounds like you have a WHOLE HOUSE electric heat system aka either heat pumps or an electric furnace. You would need a MONSTER generator to power those.
        HOWEVER as I mentioned above, get yourself some small 1500 watt Honeywell space heaters. Put them in the areas you spend your time in when the power is out, kitchen, living room, bedroom. A small generator can easily run one of those, medium size generator could run two.

        Even one of those in a main living area will keep the temp much warmer than freezing.

        Honeywell is a good brand, and small electric heaters at big box stores can be had for 50 bucks or less. Be sure to buy more than you need, ALL electric heaters of the portable type wear out over time.

  2. That would be a start but no grid is reliable. People worry about EMP but as last winter proves all it takes is a storm with a side of incompetence.

  3. Reducing the connection to the rest of the grid is not a good idea. The larger the grid, the better it works to spread the demand and the risk provided the proper safeguards are in place. Having spent 10 years with a Consultant Engineering firm in the power industry I can tell you that nothing happens quickly and there is a good chance that the needed changes and fixes are still a few years away from completion.

    I agree with Coffeeman. but since you are an apartment dweller your options are limited. If you get a separate generator to run on your deck ( outside ) don’t connect it to your power panel. If its a Condo, get the Condo board to invest in backup power for building heat and A/C. Power problems in the summer are just as likely as winter.

  4. Some of us Texans are self sufficient in power generation.

    Lesson learnt. The time to buy was months ago when this wasn’t on anyone’s mind. You can pick up a decent generator still. I myself bought a 6K westinghouse for under $400. Reason being that we use one for charity events I help at, and it purrs all day long, and has been trouble free.

    Also do yourself a favor an spend the dough on a metal gas can by justrite.

    1. All gasoline degrades with time. Propane does not.

      There are dual fuel gasoline/propane generators available for a little more and those propane tanks can do double service on your camper or BBQ grill.

      A caution: Either ABSOLUTELY know how to isolate your generator from the grid or get an electrical to install a switch that is foolproof either/or to assure that the generator is isolated.

      1. While propane is superior to gas in storage, most small engines run on gas. There are some generators that are propane or even duel fuel (gas or propane on a single unit, pick which one you use each time you run it, one fuel type at a time).

        However, gas is still king for most small engines (generators, lawn mowers, snowblowers etc). – Store some 100% non ethanol gas – you can get this stuff at your hardware store and big box stores. Its about 15 to 20 per gallon, but it stores for 5 years easily and if you drain the junk pump gas out of your machines and put this stuff in, I have found the 100 percent gas is perfect. The machines start easily, run every time, no stories.

        Some balk at the cost, again 15 to 20 per gallon (a can is about 1 gallon) however, what is your equipment worth if it doesn’t start when you need it?

        A few years ago I had a carb get ruined by cheap pump gas on my lawnmower. $ 700 later, I learned that better gas, 100 percent, is the way to go.

        1. Look for a gas station that has ethanol free gas, perhaps gas buddy.com can help. Or use racing gas, or avgas if you can get it. Racing gas is about nine dollars a gallon here in NH. Since I switched to that, all my little engines start fine.

          1. EtOH free gas can also be called Rec Gas (Recreational Gas)
            You can typically find it at gas stations that are close to boating areas.

  5. The storms in Texas last winter really played fukty-fuk with our raw materials supply.
    I spent a good 6 weeks trying to figure out work-arounds for what we couldn’t get.

  6. ANNND the Californicated are going to ban the sale of small gas powered engines: lawnmowers, leaf blowers, … generators. Insty was not-really-joking a few days ago about setting up a store, just over the line in Nevada to sell generators etc. etc.

    Re: generators: my brother had a whole-house setup on his last house. This was some years ago. Power went down one fine summer day and his was the only house within blocks able to keep the ice-cream frozen, in his and bunch of neighbours’ freezers. (Balance a freezer on a skateboard and you can push it down the street right easy!). About 2 years after he sold it he was talking to the purchasers and they had come home from a vacation, to find that the generator had disappeared from beside the house!.

    So, if you get a good generator, make sure that it cannot ‘float away’.

    On another line, I read somewhere, that you can run a few lights, etc. by inverting the output of the alternator on your car or truck. Most modern alternators put out a fair amount of amps at 12v. My GMC can have a 250 to 425 Amp output depending on the alternator. A 425 Amp inverter would give about 5000 watts. The trade-off is that your car/truck uses more gas than a dedicated generator. But then again, you may consider a generator a lost capital item, while a $400 inverter is much less pain. $6,000 versus maybe $600, for a ‘I sure would miss it if I didn’t have it, but the cost is far too high for the gold plated model’.

    PS: Truckee CA apparently received 16 FEET of snow in the storms of the last few days. The skiing may be great but there is no way that the linesman is gonna get to fixing the wires anytime soon!

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