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Prepare Your Business for Planned Power Outages

Planned power outages are controlled outages by the local power company to either conduct maintenance on the local power system, make improvements to the power system, new construction work that will be tied to the local power system, or to ensure safety during natural disasters. For the most part, maintenance and improvements will have little to no impact on customers, but what about when power is cut due to emergencies or natural disasters?

While planned power outages are a normal occurrence across the United States, Northern California is expected to have a significant increase of planned power outages starting in 2019 due to the increasing number of California wildfires. Whether your business is located in Northern California where there are plans laid out for planned power outages or located elsewhere in the US, it’s important to consider your options to help safeguard your business from possible disruptions and potential operational loss.

How Will a Planned Power Outage Affect Me?

While power outages in general can last from a few seconds to possibly weeks. Planned power outages are usually scheduled and can give you an idea of when the power company is going to cut off power supply, but what about planned power outages that state power can be cut at any time in event of an emergency?

Sudden loss of power can result in:

  • Lack of communications
  • Loss of business operations and services
  • Local transportation
  • Failure in or inoperable medical devices
  • Loss of stock & perishable goods
  • Loss of temperature control systems, such as AC or heat

Negative effects of power outages don’t solely relate to these results. Power outages can bring on a whole slew of safety issues that include an unsafe work environment or failure of security systems as well. Overall, a complete power loss can cripple your business and prevent regular operations, resulting in profit loss.

If you’re in the hospital or medical sector, this can be disastrous to both staff and patients alike, as life-saving medical and emergency procedures can be brought to a halt. Life-saving medical devices could also cease to operate.

Backup Generator Solutions for Businesses

When it comes to backup power solutions for businesses, a backup generator is a sound solution to ensure that your business can continue operating – even if only in limited capacity. While backup generators may not be a cure-all to your power outage problems, backup generators can not only help keep the lights on and maintain safe working environments for your employees, but can also keep key systems and equipment running. If working in a data center or if you have an in-house server, it may also be beneficial to pair the backup generator together with a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) system to ensure that your computers have time to properly shutdown or to keep systems up long enough for the backup generator to kick in.

Standby Generators

Standby generators, also known as backup generators are installed on-site either outside of the business facility or inside a designated room (called a generator room) and connected to the facility’s electrical system. These generators are able to provide power for extended duration when needed. Standby generators, as the name implies, are on standby and only turn on to generate power in the event of a power outage.

Standby generators can continuously operate (as long as the situation constitutes that it’s only being used for emergency use) and is only limited to its fuel supply.

Standby generators outfitted with an ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) are beneficial to have installed, because the ATS will prompt the generator to come off of standby and to start up in the event of a power outage. The generator will then disconnect the power from the main power grid and switch on automatically to begin providing power. When power to the main grid is restored, the generator power is cut off and the generator is prompted to return back to standby mode. Not only does this allow for the generator to run autonomously, which removes the need to have staff on-site to manually flip the generator switch to ON, but it also helps protect the lives and safety of maintenance & utility workers that may be working on the power lines or power systems by preventing the occurrence of uncontrolled backfeeding with your generator. If you opt out of installing an ATS to your generator, then you will need to make sure that there is staff on-site to manually turn the generator on and back off.

The two most common types of backup generators are diesel generators and natural gas generators. You can learn a little more about them below:

Diesel Generators

Diesel generators run off of diesel fuel and are limited by the capacity of its fuel tank. In order to ensure continuous operation of your standby diesel generator during power outages, it is vital to secure a steady diesel fuel supply to replenish the tank. This can pose a challenge in the event of power outages caused by natural disasters, inclement weather, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or wildfires.

If you’re planning on stocking up on diesel fuel, it’s important to keep in mind that you will need to figure out fuel storage, as well as the fact that diesel fuel can go bad. When using a diesel generator, be sure to plan accordingly.

Natural Gas Generators

Natural gas generators are usually connected directly to the local natural gas pipeline, so unlike diesel generators, there is no need to worry about storing fuel or limited fuel tank capacities. As long as the main gas utility line is working and not shut off, then natural gas generators can run continuously without having to worry about fuel supplies.

On the downside, a natural gas generator requires much more frequent maintenance due. Additionally, natural gas lines are the first utility to get shut off in the event of emergencies and natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and especially wildfires. This is to help prevent potential outbreak of fires or explosions.

Natural gas generators can also be converted to run off of LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) aka Propane. This can be a viable option in use of emergencies, as it is relatively easy to secure propane gas supplies and fuel supplies can be stored on-site with relative ease.

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) Systems

While these are not generators, UPS systems keep computers, key systems, and servers up and running long enough for users to safely turn off their computers or keep systems and servers up long enough for the backup generator to kick in and provide power. This can help prevent data loss or file corruption. UPS systems and backup generators compliment one another greatly and work together to keep your business going.

Additional Considerations

Be sure to consider these major factors when working preparing your business for planned power outages. There are many items to consider, but these can be beneficial to keep in mind when starting the process.

Portable Generators

If your facility cannot support the installation of a backup generator on-site in or outside the facility, a portable generator can be a robust solution to your backup power needs. Portable generators (also called mobile generators) are backup commercial generators that are mounted to a chassis for easy transportation and come with many built-in features that enable users to provide power for many different applications. For those who cannot afford to have a generator installed on-site due to budget constraints, space, or sizing consider a portable generator.

Another benefit of a portable generator is the rental factor. There are many generator dealers that specialize in generator rentals that can work with you to create a rental plan for both short-term and long-term rental use. In addition to only paying a rental fee, these generator dealers handle regular service & maintenance needs that are associated with generators.

While this may seem like a promising solution to your power requirements, it is important to note that these generators aren’t simply a plug and go solution. Your facility must be properly setup to allow the generator to plug into the electrical system for proper power delivery. There is also the consideration of long-term/repeated rentals. If budget was an initial concern and you opted to rent versus buy a backup generator, over time – these fees can add up. There may even be a point where it is more economical to purchase and install a generator and to forego the rental.

EPA Emissions & Regulations

When dealing with generators, the EPA has rules and regulations regarding commercial generators varying from state to state. Be sure to comply with all local and state regulations in your area. An overview can be found here: EPA Tier Ratings & Emissions

Conclusion

While we touched on many major points, there are many items to consider when preparing your business for planned power outages. If you’d like to learn more about how a generator can help your business or facility during planned power outages or have any questions, please reach out to us at Woodstock Power Company at 610-658-3242, email sales@woodstockpower.com, or simply fill out our Contact Form.

Our specialists will be able to consult you on generator needs, benefits, and can help you find the best fit for your business or facility.

The Woodstock Power Company Experience

We buy used generators and we sell used generators. With your satisfaction in mind, we focus on providing the best possible experience when buying or selling a used generator.

We have industry experts that focus on commercial backup power generator sets, with in-depth industry knowledge to help you choose the right generator that fits your needs.

Our experts are ready to assist you from answering any questions you may have about power generator sets to helping you find the best selection in our inventory based on:

  • Peak & Average Power Requirements
  • Fuel Preference (Natural Gas or Diesel)
  • Portability & Stationary Power
  • Prime & Standby Generator Requirements
  • Available Space & Exhaust Restrictions

Our experts are also able to help coach you on prime, continuous, and standby power generators, as well as finding the best surplus, new, or used generator that best fits your required application.

Looking to buy used generators? Check out our inventory or give us a call and we’ll set you up with a generator that best fits your needs!

We carry only the most top rated new, used, and surplus power generator sets for sale, providing you with a great value generator that will fit your budget.

Our generators have been thoroughly inspected, serviced, and verified, which ensures that you will be buying a quality generator that you can depend on. If a generator is not up to par with industry standards, we make all necessary repairs or modifications, and fully test every generator before we sell. This ensures a full turnkey generator that’s ready to fire up and go!

Due to our wide selection of generator sets, we’re confident that we can find the model that best suits your operational needs.

Additionally, we buy used generators in good quality, if you have already upgraded and you’re looking to sell your older model. We offer maximum value paid on used generators and can deliver payment upfront.

Feel free to contact us with any questions, concerns, or inquiries to learn more about the Woodstock Power Company experience and the quality level of products & services we provide.

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