Hurricane Irene and an early snowstorm hit the East Coast this late summer and fall, leaving both a swath of power outages and a wave of homeowners newly convinced that a backup generator is the way to go. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised to hear that installing a generator has become another way to keep up with the Joneses.
Indeed, in a town like Greenwich [Conn.], where the accouterments of the high-end houses are super-sized, generator power is now a selling point, as home theaters, heated driveways and wine grottos were in years past, said Robert Bland, the brokerage manager of the Sotheby’s office in Greenwich.
“You can’t even open your garage door or your electric gates if you don’t have a generator,” he said. “And with the weather so unpredictable, it’s become a required amenity.”
Every Sunday, Mr. Bland buys a gatefold color ad for his company in The Greenwich Time, the local newspaper. Last week, he cannily offered a roundup of listings with generators, including a $13.5-million showplace. “In this unpredictable world,” Mr. Bland’s ad read, “practical and proud can go hand in hand.”
Mr. Bland's point is well taken; being without power for days on end is more than an inconvenience when you're whole house operates via electronic control. It gives me some comfort that my family's place is so low-tech. On the other hand, we have the good luck to be on the same electrical circuit as our county hospital. In nine years here, we've only once lost power for long enough to count in hours, and that was when one of our maples fell across the line right in front of our house. I hope I didn't just jinx myself by writing that. --b.d.s.