Everything You Need to Know about Rental Generators
Monday, May 24, 2021
by: Sal Hernandez, Duthie Power Services

Section: Trends and Tips

Like insurance, most people don’t think about rental generators until they have to use them. So, when your electric company announces a planned blackout – or, heaven forbid, it’s 2 a.m. and your power’s suddenly gone – here’s our guide to keeping your building’s lights on with a no-fuss, no-hassle generator rental. 

Should I Rent a Standby Generator, or Just Get a Portable One? 
First things first: do you need a rental generator or not? If you’re the building or facility manager for a company who makes more than $5,000/day, then yes – you’ll need a rental standby generator to tide you through planned or unplanned outages. However, if you’re considering renting one for your house or small business, it probably isn’t worth it. 

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Generator?
A single rental generator can cost $3,000 or more per day. Businesses that make less than that are better off shutting down for the day, while houses can keep the essentials (in California, usually the refrigerator) powered with a much cheaper portable generator. That being said, many commercial clients do need rental generators to prevent significant potential losses. 

What Three Things Should I Tell My Generator Rental Provider?
To ensure the Goldilocks-approved rental generator fit for your building (not so big it’s unnecessarily expensive, not so small your power will short out) there are only three main questions you need to answer:  
  1. What’s your voltage? 
  2. What’s your amperage?  
  3. How far away is your panel from the parking space?  

What Three Things Should I Ask my Rental Generator Provider? 
Finding the right rental generator provider is essential to a smooth experience with no crucial delays or unpleasant surprises in the final bill. To make sure you’re dealing with a trustworthy professional, ask these three questions: 

1. What is, and is not, included in the up-front cost? 
2. What if my needs change? Is the rental plan flexible?
Especially in California, weather and outages are unpredictable. If you end up needing more or less power, for a longer or shorter time than before, your rental generator provider should understand that. 
3. Are your rental generators available on short notice? 
If your apartment building or refrigerated warehouse just lost power at 2:00 am, neither your residents nor your frozen food will appreciate having to wait six hours to be properly cooled. In the case of hospitals and cell phone towers, that six hours could be devastating. 
And yet, not all generator rental companies are willing to jump in their trucks ASAP in such early hours. So, it’s worth asking about such situations before you partner with a provider. 

Thank you to Duthie Power Services, a 2021 BOMA San Diego Annual Supporting Partner, for providing this educational content!