Do Stores Have Emergency Generators?

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Alpha8472
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Do Stores Have Emergency Generators?

Post by Alpha8472 » October 9th, 2019, 11:49 am

Northern California is experiencing deliberate power shutdowns due to fire dangers. Do any Walmart, Home Depot stores, etc. have emergency backup power?

I have seen Walmart stores close due to lack of power. They do not have backup power. The stores have solar panels, but they do not seem to power the store. They are losing a ton of potential sales.

Are there any chains that have power?

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Re: Do Stores Have Emergency Generators?

Post by submariner » October 9th, 2019, 12:25 pm

Good question. When I worked at Target in 99-00, most (if not all) stores had generators that could power minimal lighting and the registers. The theory is this allowed the store to open up during an emergency on a limited basis to allow people to purchase supplies. Generally the protocol was to have pallets of necessary items (water, cleaning supplies, what food we did carry back then, etc) up front where we would let in a few customers at a time to get supplies from the staged area and process them through the registers up front.

I don't know if that's still a policy, or if other stores adopted that. I do know Kmart did not.

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Re: Do Stores Have Emergency Generators?

Post by Brian Lutz » October 9th, 2019, 12:26 pm

I expect that a lot of grocery stores will have generators that can run the refrigeration systems, as the loss of product would otherwise be significant in an extended power outage. I've been in a Costco when the power went out, and they had backup generators that kept the front end, refrigerators and reduced lighting running, so the store was more or less operating normally (aside from possibly the food court.) I've also seen a number of power outages where the Bella Bottega QFC store in Redmond was basically operating normally on backup generators.

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Re: Do Stores Have Emergency Generators?

Post by wnetmacman » October 9th, 2019, 2:19 pm

The correct answer is that it depends on the location and pocket depth of the company involved.

I know where I live 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, many stores do have generators, and not just the minimal ones. Here, a hurricane can take out power for days, even weeks. That can cost a retailer tons of money if they lose their entire perishable stock. Generators are a way of life here.

I wouldn't expect other regions to be as meticulous about them, because the requirements are different from place to place.

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Re: Do Stores Have Emergency Generators?

Post by cjd » October 9th, 2019, 2:41 pm

Here in Florida, there was a law passed shortly after the big hurricane season in 2004 (Charley, Frances and Jeanne) that all new grocery stores had to have backup generators capable of running the entire store. This also applies to gas stations built after a certain point. Not sure if this applies to places like Walgreens, etc. I believe at some point Publix started adding generators to all of their stores regardless of when they were built.

Surprisingly, Walmart here doesn't seem to have such a generator, or at least not one of that high capacity. During hurricane Irma in 2016 they removed all frozen and refrigerated product from the store, to my knowledge and didn't reopen for about a week after the storm.

I do recall shopping at a Publix back in 2004 after one of the storms, and they had just enough power to run a few lights and a few cash registers. None of the refrigeration was running that I can recall and all perishable foods had been removed. It was mostly just water and some dry goods for sale.

I expect that most stores load refrigerated or frozen goods onto refrigerated trucks if a long outage is expected and they don't have a backup generator.

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