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#204911 - 07/19/10 07:56 PM Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours.
capsu78 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/09/07
Posts: 98
Loc: Chicagoland IL
I recently heard this situation from a poster on another board:

"We recently needed an emergency generator refuel outside business hours and the vendor we had an MOU for this with decided not to honor it.

After checking with a dozen local fueling vendors, none will honor any kind of emergency off hours fueling.
Two have offered a best effort and given the sales persons cell phone as the contact point.

Over the years this service has dried up in our area, we used to be able to get at least best effort from most vendors.

Any suggestions?"

Does anyone here at ETS have a more durable procedure built into emergency plans?
_________________________
"The last time I had a "good suprise", I was 5 and it was my birthday"

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#204912 - 07/19/10 08:09 PM Re: Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours. [Re: capsu78]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 863
Loc: Colorado
Just an obvious thought - another fuel tank?

Recalculating fuel tankage based upon some scenarios of duration of use/ fuel consumption / vendor response time should double-check the design of the system.

Storing more fuel has many issues but..... the answer seems straightforward to me. It's clear that your emergency isn't the fuel supplier's emergency.

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#204913 - 07/19/10 08:53 PM Re: Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours. [Re: unimogbert]
frediver Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 213
Loc: N.Cal.
You never mentioned what kind of fuel?
For A last resort have 6ft of hose handy.
Parking lots are full of fuel tanks.
If its a company Aux. gen. then suck the company cars dry 1st.
or trucks if diesel is needed.

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#204917 - 07/19/10 10:31 PM Re: Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours. [Re: frediver]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
The only fuels that I know are delivered in the small volumes common to residential and small business use are LNG, propane, fuel oil and diesel. Both LNG and propane suppliers typically loan you the tank/s for a nominal fee as long as you keep buying their product. and running out is usually when they suggest a larger, or more, tanks.

Fuel oil and diesel tanks are yours. And yours to figure out how much you need.

I can. offhand, remember any of the fuel suppliers making off hour deliveries unless it was prearranged and agreed to well in advance. Even this was something of a personal favor. I've never heard of an 'emergency' after-hour delivery. Most of those shops run 9 to 5 and shut down completely after that. They do run later in the late fall to cover the large numbers of orders that come but I don't think they even take orders after the office closes.

All I can suggest is to invest in larger tanks to get you into regular working hours. At least an extra 24 hours sounds right to give them time to receive the order and make delivery.

The few cases where a commercial setup needed fuel on short notice we went to the fuel depot, kept open as a personal favor, and hauled 100 pound propane tanks out to the site. Once we had a diesel generator and we got diesel from a local retail gas station, hauled them to the site and refueled by hand. I don't see why this couldn't be done using retail propane suppliers and pre-filled twenty pound tanks. Of course all that depends on a retail supplier being open.

Planning ahead and having adequate tank space to get you through the rough spots sounds like the best way to go.

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#204927 - 07/20/10 07:32 AM Re: Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours. [Re: capsu78]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2914
Loc: Alberta, Canada
My first thought was: voila, here's a business opportunity. But hold on: I have to wonder why they won't provide after-hours service. Cost? Insurance? Employee safety? Gross abuse through non-payment? If a whole bunch of private enterprise outfits won't provide this service, even at a premium (?), there's probably a darn good reason.

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#204931 - 07/20/10 12:40 PM Re: Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours. [Re: dougwalkabout]
ajax Offline
Member

Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 112
Our backup generator here has a 500gal. tank that allows for about 72 hours of run time.

Any backup generator should be capable of running for at least a 3 day weekend. I can't think of many other scenarios where you couldn't get service by then save for a natural disaster, in which case, you have bigger problems.
_________________________
Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.
- Jeff Cooper

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#204956 - 07/20/10 11:49 PM Re: Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours. [Re: dougwalkabout]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout
My first thought was: voila, here's a business opportunity. But hold on: I have to wonder why they won't provide after-hours service. Cost? Insurance? Employee safety? Gross abuse through non-payment? If a whole bunch of private enterprise outfits won't provide this service, even at a premium (?), there's probably a darn good reason.


I think you make a good point there. Seems to me that people are going to run, and run out of fuel, when there is an emergency. Driving a tanker truck full of propane through a disaster area sound like a hard way to make a living.

Hi, Universal Fuel delivery? Yes, I know it's 1AM. Can you bring me a load of propane? Yes, there is wildfire in the valley, and a 50' wall of fire you will have to drive through but I really don't want to miss the world cup final so I'd really appreciate if you could help me out.

<blink>

Ummm ... sure. Get right on it.


There is also the small issue of payment. A lot of the people who depend on generators live in rural locations which makes after-hour deliveries potential epic adventures. A heavy truck driving unfamiliar and unimproved roads at night can get interesting. You may have to include extra pay for the driver and account for potential equipment damage and costs of dragging a delivery truck out of a ditch. Delivery charges are going to reflect these costs and risks.

And then there is the question of getting paid. The same people who are most likely to have failed to plan, and stockpile or husband fuel, are also the sorts who are most likely to be short of cash. Some may be tempted to take shortcuts and promise more than they can deliver and do things like writing a check and try to beat it to the bank. Taking a risk for a big payoff is fine, something of a noble adventure. Taking a risk and not getting paid, and going broke, pretty much takes all the fun out of it.

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#204966 - 07/21/10 02:25 AM Re: Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours. [Re: Art_in_FL]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Better planning seems like the best bet.

Running out of fuel in the middle of the night is the problem of the operators, not the fuel company. It isn't their problem, and they probably don't see any reason to make it their problem.

Sue

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#204972 - 07/21/10 07:46 AM Re: Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours. [Re: Susan]
adam2 Offline
Addict

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 450
Loc: Somerset UK
I would agree with others who suggest larger or additional tanks. This is IMHO more important with propane than with diesel.

Bulk propane tanks cant be readily filled from smaller containers without specialist equipment becuase the contents are pressurised.

Diesel is easily handled in an emergency.

Tanks should be sized for the worst resonably forseeable power outage, and time without re-supply. This is likely to be about 96/100 hours, not the 72 suggested above.
Consider power fails at 14-00 on a Friday, preceeding a holiday weekend. You cant order more fuel for some hours, since the outage might be only for an hour or two, with little fuel consumed and therefore limited room in the tank for more.
If the power is still out on Teusday morning, then more fuel can be ordered first thing in the morning, but probably cant be delivered for some hours. That is between 96 and 100 hours after the power went out.

It may be possible to obtain diesel fuel from retail filling stations and transport it in jerry cans, drums, or vehicle fuel tanks.
Dont count on it though, remember that a widespread outage may affect the filling station which needs electricity to pump fuel.
In the event of any widespread emergency fuel is likely to be in short supply.

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#204988 - 07/22/10 12:01 AM Re: Emergency generator refuel outside of reg. hours. [Re: adam2]
roberttheiii Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 340
Loc: Connecticut, USA
If you really need it that bad, offer to pay more money.

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