Warning about Standby Generators
As a fire victim of the 2003 and 2007 San Diego wildfires I am very aware of how important a standby generator is for survival. Our power lines were destroyed in 2003 and again in 2007. We had to operate off generators for several months after both fires.
I remained off grid on my solar electric PV system.
Recently, I have been contacted by two of my customers about installing standby generators in San Diego County. In both cases the customers were sold generators online by out of state companies that could not be used in San Diego County due to local sound ordinances. The online, out of state representatives employed predatory hard sell tactics and failed to inform the customers that there could be any local permitting issues.
Standby generators are significant purchases often ranging from $2,400.00 for an 8 kW generator and $15,999.00 for a 48 kW generator, not including the cost of installation, permitting, and compliance.
In fact the permitting issues are themselves substantial and require construction of permanent structures to house these generators and specific rules for placement from property lines as well as utility interface.
None of these issues was mentioned by the out of state sales people. In one case, the customer had not taken delivery of the generator and they were able to get their money back. In the other case, the generator, still under warranty and unused, has been sitting for a year, unable to be permitted.
One of these customers lost their home in the 2007 wildfire and the other is close to where the 2007 and 2003 fires were. They are also both in the wild land areas where SDG&E has been shutting off power pre-emptively when it is windy and there is a fire danger.
Both customers are concerned about their safety when their power is cut off. They want their wells to work and to not lose the contents of their refrigerators or freezers when utility power is shut off during precautionary periods.
The online seller did not follow best practices as prescribed by the generator manufacturer in specifying the proper generator and advising the customer of local codes and an ordinance requiring permitting and related issues. The manufacturer, Generac, licenses the sales company but refuses to intervene on behalf of the customers.
We have been assisting these customers to try to get a settlement and return the inappropriate generator. We contacted the generator sales company, Northern Tool & Equipment, and the generator manufacturer Generac.
I have received special training from Generac, the manufacturer.