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Here’s why your business SHOULD invest in an emergency back-up system

Posted on by Conditioned Environment Team

The 2003 London blackout brought the capital’s rail network to a standstill and its bus replacement services into gridlock. The London Underground happened to have replaced its last independent generators in favour of grid power just a few months earlier. Commuters were trapped aboard trains, inside tunnels and the buses were equally useless because of traffic light failure. The lesson? Important infrastructure and private business should always adequately invest in back-up power systems and be prepared to deal with the fallout of a power outage.

Businesses that need emergency back-up systems

The following are businesses that should always have back-up generators on hand in case of a blackout:

  • Airports
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Data centres
  • Emergency call centres
  • Financial institutions
  • Food preparation facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Museums
  • Nursing homes
  • Storage facilities

Businesses, cultural institutions and health services need to weigh the potential economic losses and safety concerns against the cost of a dedicated back-up system. If it’s your responsibility to make sure every measure has been taken to keep facilities running as normal, then a back-up plan and back-up generators are the last word in preparation.  Socially responsible businesses as well as profit-driven companies need to assess their needs and what current back-ups they have in place, if any. Think about what could be compromised in a no-power situation. In most cases, the cost of a back-up system is low compared to financial losses sustained during a lengthy energy crisis.

Make a back-up power plan

Ideally, a back-up power plan will never need to be implemented. However, we do not live in an ideal world, and the UK is currently at increased risk of blackouts due to the country’s peak power output potential and the possible peak demand, known as the capacity margin, being so close. Blackouts for longer periods of time, rather than typical short intervals, are more of a risk with this problem. Here are the basics for making a back-up power plan:

  1. During blackout, you can afford to lose power to frontline systems, such as servers and computers. However, you must have a back-up generator large enough to power your critical systems. This generator will use natural gas (NG), liquid petroleum gas (LPG), or diesel for fuel.
  2. An Automatic Transfer Switch will be required. This monitors your facility’s power and transfers supply to the generator when a blackout occurs.
  3. You should consider an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). A UPS will power your frontline systems before supply of power is transferred to the generator. It will also protect specialised equipment from sudden power loss.
  4. Maintaining the generator is crucial if it is to be effective. Purchasing a dedicated servicing schedule and maintenance package will ensure a generator works when it is needed most. Many businesses find that generators fail due to a lack of regular maintenance. A generator is essentially an engine and like any engine, if a generator is not maintained it will become unreliable. Look after a generator and it will not let you down.
  5. Make a Fuel Management Plan. If there is a sustained blackout, the amount of fuel onsite and how long it will keep your facility running is important information. What is the plan to source more fuel if your on site fuel runs out?

Now is the time to assess your business’s needs and consider how you would continue operation in the event of a blackout. A professional back-up installations company will provide answers to the above questions and offer solutions tailored to your business, location and commercial premises. Power cuts that last for short intervals are periodic and should be expected on occasion, and though it is less likely to lose power for longer periods of time, blackouts do occur and cause severe disruption. The only way to avoid catastrophes on the scale of the London blackout is to be prepared and have a dedicated back-up plan.

Conditioned Environment are expert suppliers and installers of air conditioning, HVAC systems and emergency back-up systems. We supply, install and maintain the highest quality systems in the South East, and have helped to keep many businesses on their feet when power failure has occurred. For more information on our products and services, get in touch with us today!

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