Homeowners Rethink Storm Preparedness Over The Past Year Since Superstorm Sandy

Embracing storm preparedness, more homeowners investing in standby generators

MILWAUKEE (October 29, 2013) — In the 12 months since Superstorm Sandy swept across the Northeast the emergency preparedness industry has been growing.

“With more than 7.5 million1 people left without power in its aftermath, Superstorm Sandy was a painful reminder of Mother Nature’s power,” said Greg Inwood, general manager for Briggs & Stratton Standby Power (NYSE: BGG). “After enduring Sandy, homeowners realize that preparation ahead of time can make life a lot easier in the long run and provide peace of mind in the face of another storm.”

Briggs & Stratton’s Standby Power division oversees the manufacture, sales and distribution of its home standby generator products. The home standby generator and automatic transfer switch are connected to a home’s natural gas or liquid propane fuel source. After detecting that utility power has gone out, the standby generator automatically turns on within seconds and provides the home with a seamless supply of power. When utility power is restored, the home standby generator automatically powers off. In addition to the basics such as lights and refrigerator, other common home appliances operated by a standby generator include air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, electric stoves, clothes washers/dryers.

How Superstorm Sandy Affected the Generator Industry and Residents

Superstorm Sandy made landfall a year ago this week, leaving almost 8 million homes and businesses without power in 15 states. Some were in the dark for weeks.

“Sandy affecting the Northeast — where a large chunk of our nation’s population and national media outlets resides — was a key factor in pushing the preparedness discussion forward,” said Inwood.

“Before Sandy, a majority of our discussion with consumers was trying to explain what a standby generator was and how it worked,” Inwood said. “This storm really placed a premium on emergency preparedness in the media and with that our product category got some mainstream attention. Now we’re talking about what kind of standby generator is best for a homeowner and tailoring the buying experience to their specific needs. We have seen a double-digit increase in sales growth throughout the past year and a big reason for that uptick is the emphasis placed on storm preparedness by the media and families in the affected areas after storms such as Superstorm Sandy.”

Rachel Natelli, from Oradell, N.J., was one homeowner who had a home standby generator installed prior to the hurricane season last year. Her experience during Superstorm Sandy was very different from many of her neighbors, some of which lost power for nine days.

“Our standby generator started right up when the power went out from Superstorm Sandy,” Natelli said. “It was business as usual around our home while so many others were in the dark for more than a week.”

Natelli said the generator powering her home even allowed her to focus on helping others around her who weren’t as fortunate to have power during the cleanup process.

“Our home became a hub of activity for our family and friends who had lost power. People brought their laundry over to be cleaned or just stopped by to warm up for a bit,” she said. “We cooked meals and made hot chocolate for the cleanup crews. It was just a blessing to have the generator at the ready before Superstorm Sandy struck.”

According to Inwood, “storm preparedness can still be an overlooked topic unless a large emergency is presently looming — for both homeowners and the media. But consumers who have overlooked preparing their homes still have options. Portable generators are often purchased by homeowners preparing with little time before a storm rolls in, or even immediately after a home goes dark.”

A portable generator runs on gasoline and can be used to power home appliances and lights. While portable generators need refueling and can only power a few items in a home, they are a good option for homeowners who need an immediate solution after a storm.

“Our portable power division typically sees a spike in sales immediately prior to and in the hours after a strong storm strikes a market,” Inwood said.

In addition to the raised awareness on home storm preparedness caused by Superstorm Sandy, Inwood said, “Product advancements have helped aid the product category growth with the power management technology that is now available for our standby generators, allowing homeowners to power all of their home’s appliances with a smaller, more affordable generator. It’s opening the product category to an entirely new demographic.”

Briggs & Stratton Corporation
Briggs & Stratton Corporation, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Its wholly owned subsidiaries include North America’s number one marketer of portable generators and pressure washers, and it is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of lawn and garden and turf care through its Simplicity®, Snapper®, SnapperPro® Ferris®, Murray®, Branco® and Victa® brands. Briggs & Stratton products are designed, manufactured, marketed and serviced in over 100 countries on six continents. For additional information, please visit www.basco.com and www.briggsandstratton.com. 


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