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Generators: The Must Have Gift for the Holidays

EASTON, Conn. – After experiencing two major power outages in Easton in three months, it seems there is one special Christmas present that everyone in town is asking for under the tree: generators.

This year's unusual weather - including the October snowstorm and Tropical Storm Irene - left thousands of Easton residents without power for several days. It seems Easton residents are trying to stay ahead of the electricity game.

During both storms, Eastonites were forced to go elsewhere to grab a hot shower, get fresh water and find a place to charge up cell phones and laptops in order to stay connected with the outside world. The town’s building department has seen a giant spike in generator permits in the past two months.

Since November, there have been 18 generator permits issued and 17 more are awaiting zoning approval, the town says. “Oh yeah, we have seen a big jump since the last two storms,” said Building Official Bill Martin.

Easton residents do not need permits for portable generators, but they do need permits to install mounted generators in their homes. A resident needs to get a zoning application, a plot plan showing the location of the generator and fuel sources, and send a check to the town of Easton for $85 in zoning fees and a state-mandated surcharge.

But that is not all, applicants must also get electrical and gas piping permits from the building department after the zoning permit has been issued. As for where to purchase the generators, residents have to look outside of town because no businesses in rural Easton sell them, Martin says.

Generator are pretty pricey - a quick Google search will show that they can cost just a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand. “I think that is something people need to think about, does this sort of thing offset of the price of not having power in your home,” said First Selectman Thomas Herrmann.

“All residents should consider whether or not they should have a generator as an alternate source for power in their home," Herrmann said. "I have seen a jump recently for permits in town. I know this year has had some strange occurrences in weather and I know that people want to be prepared."

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