Power outages trigger run on generators

July 12, 2011 (SKOKIE, Ill.)

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, more than 250,000 ComEd customers were still in the dark. The utility said it could take until Saturday to restore all of the power. As a result, many residents are buying generators to keep refrigerators, sump pumps and other major appliances running until the electricity returns.

In north suburban Skokie, where 3,000 residents still do not have electricity, the faint hum of generators from backyards could be heard Tuesday afternoon.

Generators can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. But to those who have them, it is money well spent. It has become the must-have appliance of the summer.

Earlier in the day, ABC7 visited a Home Depot in Evanston where the manager said 60 people were on a waiting list for generators. People have come from as far away as Lake County to buy a generator. While the store is trying to accommodate everyone, there is a waiting list with the sick and elderly getting priority.

"There are two things you need to make sure you have running at all times: your sump pump, if you have a sump pump, you want to make sure that keeps running if you don't have a battery backup. A small generator...will do to that job for you. Or your refrigerator. Plug it in at all times and make sure those are running," said Maurice Morris of Home Depot.

There are many different types of generator. Some can even power an entire house.

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