Above normal temperatures have been predicted for many parts of Australia this summer, placing potential pressure on the country's electricity supplies as homeowners and businesses reach for their air conditioners.
In January 2007 a massive power blackout in Victoria left 200,000 homes without electricity, and Melbourne's public transport system and road network in disarray as bushfires tripped a major transmission line between Victoria and New South Wales.
While little can be done to foolproof transport infrastructure, homeowners and business operators can in many cases safeguard against power shortfalls by investing in a reliable generator.
According to Honda Power Equipment manager, Ray Briffa, a generator can provide peace of mind to ensure a household can continue running during blackouts, and in the case of business, limit revenue loss.
"It's rare that a summer passes in Australia where power supply isn't interrupted," Mr Briffa said. "For business owners a blackout is not just inconvenient, it can also be expensive with equipment such as cash registers and eftpos not working, effectively shutting down the operation.
"Those in the hospitality and food service industries can be even more gravely affected with the added worry of perishable foodstuffs once fridge and freezers are without power.
"Medical and dental practices will also grind to a standstill without electricity to power lights, equipment and security systems."
Once predominantly used by caravaners and campers requiring power in remote locations, generators are quickly becoming a valuable addition to the home or business as people seek to reduce the impact of blackouts.
According to Briffa, a Honda generator is a versatile and relatively cost efficient piece of equipment that will limit inconvenience and ensure business continuity.
"The 700 watt AC, 12 volt / 10 amp DC EX7 is capable of powering smaller appliances such as a television, stereo, light and camping fridge”. Mr Briffa said.
"In the event of a power failure, a generator will quickly pay for itself, and if purchased for business purposes, the price can be offset via a tax deduction."
If power is needed for sensitive electronic equipment such as computers, 'Pure Sine Wave Output' technology for smooth power delivery is recommended.
This feature is standard on Honda's EU inverter models, which start with the maximum 1000 watt AC / 8 amp DC EU10i.
For extra power Honda's maximum 2000 watt AC, 12 volt 8 amp DC, EU20i model weighs just 21 kg, less than half the weight of conventional generators and is capable of powering a fridge or microwave oven.
At the top end of the EU range is the EU30is model with maximum 3000 watt AC / 12 amp DC output and the convenience of electric start to provide backup power for air conditioners and most home and business appliances.
For added efficiency the EU Inverter range is equipped with a load-sensitive ECO-Throttle system. This innovation automatically adjusts the engine's RPM to generate exactly the amount of power required by the appliance, thus reducing fuel consumption and noise levels.
Honda's more powerful EM50is and EM70is models are huge capacity inverter generators in their class.
The EM50is has a maximum output of 5,000 watts AC and its rated output is 4,500 watts, while the EM70is delivers a maximum output of 6,500 watts AC, with a rated output of 5,500 watts, sufficient to power large household appliances or workshop power tools.
Honda also manufactures a large water-cooled generator, the EX5500 which is capable of powering most appliances in the average home or business simultaneously.