Fla. Grocers Make Power Plans for Hurricane Season

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Fla. Grocers Make Power Plans for Hurricane Season

Generators, mobile power sources, and other emergency tools will help Florida grocers keep the lights on and food safe in case of storm-related power outages, said operators.

Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets, for example, said it is spending $175 million to equip each of its stores in the state with 500-kilowatt generators. The back-up power plants can provide enough energy to turn on lights and run freezers, refrigerators, and cash registers.

"When they kick it on, you won't even know there was a power failure," said spokesman Dwaine Stevens. Thus, customers would be able to shop Publix stores even during power outages.

Publix is not the only grocery chain hoping to avoid the damage to good and business from more power outages like those that hit their stores during the 2008 hurricane season.

Jacksonville, Fla.-headquartered Winn-Dixie said it has installed 500-kilowatt back-up power sources at almost a dozen stores in Central Florida. Other Florida chains say they can move mobile power sources into position, where needed, at a moment's notice.

"We put those generators in place whenever they are needed," said Anna Taylor, spokeswoman for Walmart.

Albertsons also has generators available for stores but the company makes the decision to deploy mobile generators after assessing conditions at a particular location, according to Shane McEntarffer, spokesman for the Boise, Idaho-based chain. "Stores that need power, we do have access to generators for them."