Three Wisconsin companies that are the largest U.S.-based manufacturers of generators are getting a windfall of business from winter power outages.
Generators from Kohler Co., Briggs & Stratton Corp. and Generac Power Systems have been used at hospitals, emergency shelters, businesses and homes in areas of the country where tens of thousands of people were still without power last Friday after ice storms knocked down power lines.
Briggs & Stratton has an emergency response team keeping a steady flow of portable generators headed to the storm-struck areas. The company has moved inventory from its facility in Georgia so it's closer to areas affected by the storms.
Kohler Co. donated a commercial-grade standby generator to Seaside Park, N.J., to provide power to the municipal building that serves as a command center and shelter during severe storms. Seaside Park was ravaged by two disasters in a year. In October 2012, superstorm Sandy swept away its famed boardwalk and a nearby amusement park, while destroying homes and businesses in its path. The community rebuilt, but then had a boardwalk fire in September.
About 64,000 Michigan homes and businesses remained without power Friday after an ice storm struck much of the state. Utility crews braced for more problems this weekend as warmer weather could cause ice on tree branches to melt, and that ice could fall onto power lines.
In a year with multiple big storms, industrywide generator sales can top 1 million units.
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