NJ Man Powers Home with Hybrid Car During Blackout

"The neighbors kept saying, 'Does Bob have a generator?' No, it's the Prius. It's a spaceship," he said

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    Residents in Paramus, New Jersey continue to deal without power. Pat Battle reports. (Published Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012)

    Some tri-state residents who lost power during Sandy found temporary refuge from cold and dark homes inside their cars. For one New Jersey man, his hybrid car became the source of power, as he used the vehicle for power his entire home.

    Bob Sakala of Paramus says he bought his Toyota Prius Hybrid in June to save gas. In the week since the storm, he powered his home on three-quarters of a tank.
    Sakala says he first read about the Prius' use as a power source a few years ago on the internet. After his house went dark during the storm, he thought he'd give it a try.
    Using a 100-watt power inverter that plugged into the car's cigarette lighter, and several heavy-duty extension cords he purchased at Home Depot, Sakala was able to power a few lights along with his TV, laptop and modem. He later upgraded to a 300-watt inverter, which let him power more lights.
    "The neighbors kept saying, 'Does Bob have a generator?' No, it's the Prius. It's a spaceship," he told NBC 4 New York. 
    Although he couldn't plug in a heater, Sakala said he was happy to keep the lights on, something hundreds of thousands of customer went without in New York and New Jersey.
    At the storm's peak, more than 8.5 million homes and businesses across 21 states lost power. As of Thursday, that was down to about 750,000, almost entirely in New York and New Jersey.
    Thursday's nor'easter overnight knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in New York and New Jersey, erasing some of the progress made by utility crews.
    Power was restored to Sakala's block Thursday evening.