Most commercial buildings are not equipped with sufficient backup power. For example, a blackout in 2003 left around half of New York City’s 58 hospitals without sufficient power, even with backup generators in place.
Surveys indicate that many commercial facilities have gaps between what they have, want, and need to keep the power on during a major weather event or blackout.
Power Losses Are Becoming More Common
Power losses can disrupt operations for extended periods. Since 2003, power outages due to weather have doubled.
Disturbances on power lines and wires are responsible for the majority of blackouts. Severe storms can take down large sections of the power system. While the U.S. power grid is taking steps to improve load capacity and grid monitoring technology, it is not enough to prevent unplanned power losses.
Falling trees, control errors, and operational mismanagement can also create unplanned blackouts.
Experts state, ‘Power cuts are becoming more and more frequent. Large-scale, super-regional blackouts are increasingly a realistic scenario. Even small outages can have disastrous effects on unprepared businesses.’
Even with codes and regulations, the power grid is still vulnerable to blackouts.
‘It seems that designing the emergency power systems according to code is not always enough to prevent failure of the emergency system. Incorporating a common-sense approach that may exceed code when determining the location of components in an emergency backup and standby power system enhances reliability and resiliency of that power.’
Preparation is the Best Defense Against Power Loss
Some facility owners and managers are adopting the attitude of it won’t happen at this location. However, man-made and natural disasters are a possibility regardless of the strength of the power grid.
The best time to prepare for a power loss is before a blackout occurs. Being proactive is a must for successful continual operations.
Create a Backup Power Plan
Regardless of the type of commercial building, you should have a backup power plan to deal with short and long-term blackouts.
As you are creating your backup power plan here are a few aspects to consider.
- All facilities should have a backup power generator large enough to run the building. Look for diesel or natural gas models. Our commercial electricians can test your load requirements and your utility can provide data on the facility’s average electrical usage.
- Installing an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) is always recommended. It monitors the facility’s power, automatically switching to the backup power generator during a blackout. When electricity is restored, the switch transfers back to the facility’s power supply and shuts the generator down.
A UPS is something else to consider. It keeps the power on during short-term blackouts. It ensures that sensitive equipment like computers does not lose power while the generator turns on.
- Backup power generator maintenance and testing. Generators require routine maintenance and testing, even when not in use. It helps ensure the generator is capable of performing during a blackout.
- Fuel management planning. Backup power generators typically run on natural gas or diesel fuel. You want to ensure you can keep the generator supplied during long-term power losses. Some questions to consider are can fuel trucks reach your facility after a major storm? Is there a supplier in your area? Do you have a plan if the fuel delivery truck cannot reach the facility?
Backup Power with Action Services Group
Extended blackouts are becoming more common and commercial facilities need to be prepared. If you need help creating a backup power plan or want to learn more about backup power generators, contact us today! Call 610-558-9773, emailing [email protected] or schedule a call that fits your needs by clicking the button below.