Hauling out sleeping bags, scouring the area for a place to charge cell phones, scrambling to find a place to store perishables. Residents of the town of New Castle were preoccupied with these activities after Hurricane Irene and the pre-Halloween storm on October 30. With each passing deluge, an increasing number of people are proceeding from the hypothetical discussion of whether to install a generator to actually plunking down the requisite funds. The prevailing sentiment among those who are regularly tethered to the internet and those who have tossed a freezer full of savory items is that a generator is a necessity.
According to Building inspector Bill Maskiell, the number of installations is growing exponentially. “After the snowstorm in October we were inundated with generator permit applications,” he said. The town has endeavored to turn around applications within a two week time period in order to facilitate installation of generators during the period when the ground is not frozen. In the past few months, a minimum of 250 permits have been issued by the town. On a recent temperate day in February, Maskiell had approximately eight permits awaiting his review. Demand has slowed down over the past few weeks. Prior to that time, the number of applications for permits ranged from five to ten a day.
The average size of generators being installed in town is between 10 and 14 watts. Although some installations are only designed to provide power for heat and refrigeration, Maskiell finds that these are not the norm. “For the most part people are putting in the size they need to take care of the whole house,” he observed.
The process of applying for a permit is relatively straightforward. Applicants are required to submit the name of their contractors and the proposed location. Setback compliance is closely monitored. For a one acre property, the setbacks are at least 60 feet in the front, 50 in the rear and 35 on the sides.