Anticipating power outages as a result of the weekend’s wintery weather, customers across the state scrambled for supplies last week.


Anticipating power outages as a result of the weekend’s wintery weather, customers across the state scrambled for supplies last week.

One particular item, the gas-powered electric generator, was in short supply as the freezing rain and snow fell across the state.

Walt Lee of Lowe’s in Ardmore said they were completely sold out of generators and might be for the next few days.

“We were sold out by noon Tuesday,” Lee said.

“We usually keep about 16 in stock, and we sold every one.”

Ardmore residents weren’t the only ones searching for generators. Lee said customers from as far away as Oklahoma City called the store searching for generators, as retailers in the metro area had run out completely.

“I think everybody’s worried about the ice storm,” Lee said. “if they lose power, the only way to get power to your home is a generator.”

Generators, however, come with their own set of concerns. Sandy Lackey, family and consumer sciences educator with the OSU Extension Office, said consumers should be sure to follow all operator’s manuals that come with the generators.

“When you’re starting it up, if the voltage falls too low, shut off some of the equipment,” Lackey said. “A generator only has a certain capacity.”

Lee said the smallest generators, which can operate for several hours on a gallon of gasoline, can only power a few devices at a time, such as a refridgerator, or a television and some lights. The largest generators, which consume precipitiously more fuel, can power an entire house.

Both Lee and Lackey said the biggest danger generators pose comes from the carbon monoxide they generate as a byproduct of operation. A generator is essentially a gasoline engine like those found in a car, except instead of powering wheels, it creates electrical current. Much like a car, it generates exhaust that could be potentially hazardous.

“You can’t run them inside, that’s for sure,” Lee said.

Lackey recommended keeping the generator outdoors and far away from structures, to lessen the risk of fire caused by the engine’s heat.