The widespread power blackouts stemming from the massive ice storm that hit eastern Ontario and Quebec last week have caused a huge demand for generators across the province--including here.
Local generator dealers have been getting calls from the Ontario government and national reps from generator companies, all looking for power units to ship east.
"We’ve had lots of inquiries," noted Tom Jackson of Tompkins Hardware Ltd. in Emo. "I had at least six calls."
Jackson said all new generators in his store were slated to be shipped east sometime yesterday morning.
Dave Goodman of Borderland Esso in Emo already shipped the four generators he had in stock Monday. And he was pretty sure he could have sold more if he had them.
"They basically took just anything, all sizes," he said. "I shipped mine to a Kowasaki dealer down east where they don’t have any power.
"They won’t have power for about three weeks," he added, noting the lady who ordered the generators said she was wearing four pairs of socks to stay warm at work.
Meanwhile, Jim Badiuk of Badiuk Equipment here said he has had to turn down several callers looking for generators, noting he didn’t have any in stock--new or used.
And Bob Fichuk of Pinewood Sports here said there’s a good chance no one will be stocking up generators for some time.
"Honda Canada is out of generators," he said, noting $300,000 in equipment already has been donated to the relief efforts down east.
Fichuk said another 600 generators were shipped to Vancouver by boat, and will be airlifted to eastern Ontario and Quebec right after they arrive.
"They were talking about pulling generators out of the U.S. but the same problem exists there," he noted. "All generators have been shipped to upper New York.
"All you can do is sell what you’ve got in your inventory because you can’t get any more," he added.
Pinewood Sports was contacted Monday, Fichuk said, and he believed their shelves will be emptied of generators shortly.
"People are in dire need out there," he said.
The local Ministry of Natural Resources also has sent down a few generators, along with 12 certified chainsaw operators to help hydro workers clear away debris from the ice storm.
Four local Ontario Hydro workers also have volunteered, leaving to help fix downed power lines in the affected areas.