Emergency Generators cost Sioux Falls businesses thousands - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Emergency Generators cost Sioux Falls businesses thousands

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When several businesses in Downtown Sioux Falls realized their power could be out for several days with temperatures dropping to the single digits, they rushed to find emergency generators Friday afternoon. 

After the power came on Saturday afternoon, electric workers had to disconnect the generators and hook their buildings back up to Xcel Energy's electrical grid.  The entire process was both time consuming and expensive for a lot of business owners. 

"We have about 50 customers that are affected by the power outage," said Joann Messersmith with Legacy Real Estate. 

Legacy Real-Estate property managers worked all day Friday and Saturday to find generators for their tenants. 

"These generators are in such short supply, you have all these downtown building trying to deal with refrigerators not working and heat not working and food loss and pipes freezing," said Messersmith. 

After finding a generator, there's still the work of figuring out what's essential and what can stay off.  

"We went through the apartments and turned off the dishwashers, turned of the ovens, turned off the water heaters and just isolated the furnaces so the 1st thing we could do is keep the building warm," said Robert Jarding, the Vice President of Electric Supply Company. 

Just hooking up the generators was a huge process.  It took a crew of about three men working seven hours to hook up the units inside the Carnegie Apartment Complex up to a generator, it only too an hour to hook it back up to Xcel Energy's electric grid. 

But that hour of work on a Saturday also costs a lot more. 

"We've got to pay double the labor now to get it hooked back off the generator," said Messersmith. 

Not to mention the cost of renting of buying a generator. 

"They're a good chunk of money, they're a big diesel engine and they burn about 10-15 gallons of fuel and hour," said Jarding. 

At the end of the day, it could en up costing business owners thousands. 

"I can't see any of the solutions being less than a couple thousand and that's the clients that had the smaller generators, you know 10,15, 20 thousand is probably more realistic on these larger buildings," said Messersmith.

Most businesses don't know if their insurance will help cover the expenses, but they agreed that the expensive precaution was better than the alternative of letting their buildings freeze. 

"Those businesses have such a tremendous amount of equipment, ruptured water pipes, not only would interfere with the day to day operations of the business, it would also do a tremendous amount of property damage to the building itself," said Messersmith. 

Many businesses will not know how much this power outage cost them for quite some time.  They're also dealing with the loss of business on Friday and most of Saturday. 

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