"It kind of reached a point that the people who provide the power aren't prepared so you better be." – Brian Corson, Newtown resident, on why he bought a generator.
The last time Ken Burns saw so much interest in generators was when some people believed the world would come to an end at the stroke of midnight in year 2000.
Now, the mistrust fueling a demand for generators is coming from people who don't believe utility and other officials will be able to restore their power should there be another round of damaging weather.
"There's a lot of fear," the 44-year-old Newtown electrician said.
The result is that Burns' phone has been ringing incessantly with about 20 phone calls a day from people wanting information on installing generators, which can range in price from several hundred to several thousands of dollars depending on their capacity.
Newtown's building department also is seeing steady traffic from people applying for generator permits while businesses, such as Newtown Hardware, also are responding to the increase in demand by stocking up on smaller generator models and the plugs, wires and connections that go with it.
"It started just as Irene was approaching," Newtown Hardware's Dan Sorrentino said of the interest in generators. "People are getting serious about it."
Burns said he traced the interest to earlier this year after a tough winter and then later, damaging thunderstorms, which .
and the just increased the panic, Burns said, adding he has fielded more than 200 inquiries regarding generators since Irene.
"I'm sure this will keep us busy for a good part of the winter," he said.
Some of the people buying generators, such as Brian Corson, 67, of Newtown, cite a complete lack of faith in Connecticut Light & Power, which he said set in for him shortly after Irene when he and his family were left without power for about a week.
"I began to deal with the reality that these things were going to continue to happen," Corson said. "It kind of reached the point that you realize the people who provide the power aren't prepared, so you better be."
Researching the topic after Irene, Corson said he grew wary that CL&P didn't have enough personnel to address mass outages, and that concerned him as winter approached.
"It became clear to me that this wasn't a one-time thing," he said, adding he then spent the next several weeks researching generators.
After he made the decision to install a generator, the next step was to find an electrician to do the installation.
"The longest part of the process is getting somebody that knows what they are doing," he said.
Installing a generator also adds value to a home, according to Burns, who installed one at his house.
"They are very good investments," he said. "Now you have electricity when you need it."
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