How do generators work for big places like grocery stores that use a lot of power, and why might they sometimes still lose power?


My local Kroger is without power right now. Either they don’t have a generator or it’s not working properly, but you’d think that they’d have a generator because they have so many perishable items. If hypothetically they do have a generator and it is working to at least a degree, is it possible that they still wouldn’t have power?

In: Engineering

They work the same way small generators work just on a larger scale. A building can lose power for any of the same reasons your house can lose power. What specifically would you like to have explained to you?

Most businesses do not have a generator in the United States. Grocery stores are no exception. Telecom business such as that are contractually obligated to work and function would have them on premises and they should test on a regular schedule. These would be typically diesel powered.

Some stores do have generator backup tied into critical systems like refrigerators / freezers. So if they had a generator it would likely be keeping the perishables from perishing, but they probably wouldn’t waste the fuel to run all the lights in the store. So it may look like they don’t have a generator when in fact they do.

Or…they might not have one and will end up writing off / returning the damaged goods.

A generator capable of supplying enough power to run a grocery store’s refrigerators would be pretty big, and require a fair amount of maintenance and infrastructure.. not practical for a grocery store.

Places like hospitals that NEED to have backup power will have generators. But the generators aren’t powerful enough to supply as much electricity as the hospital usually uses, so only some power circuits are connected to the generator backup. Red outlets in a hospital generally indicate outlets that are connected to the generators.

There are grocery stores with generators.

A large Midwestern grocery chain has semi trailer generators. Just a few can handle extended local outages for the entire chain. The generator is large enough to run all refrigeration, the registers, and just enough lights to shop. The store is fully functional, just a bit dim.

A small local grocery store in the south has a permanent on site generator. One night a transformer phase went out. Lights ranged from off to dim to full brightness depending on the circuit. The store generator didn’t like this and started up to maintain refrigeration on all circuits.

You would have heard the generator. They aren’t quiet like the little camping generators. They didn’t have a generator or the outage wasn’t long enough to deploy the truck generator.