Why Standby Generators Are Crucial for Businesses
Businesses depend on electricity every day for everything from running machinery and preserving product to keeping employees and customers comfortable and more. Since businesses rely on electricity in so many ways, a blackout can cause a serious disruption that can cause a ripple effect of serious consequences. Statistics indicate that power outages have become increasingly common in the U.S. over the past decade, so this problem isn’t going away any time soon.
If you want your business to be prepared for a power outage, you need a backup generator. A backup generator provides backup power when your utility power fails. A standby generator, in particular, can help your business maintain operations in the event of an outage. We’re going to discuss six reasons to have a backup generator installed at your business.
How Does a Standby Generator Work?
A standby generator is a generator that is permanently installed at your facility in case of emergency, so it’s ready for a power outage. When installing a standby generator, it’s often recommended to install an ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch), so your backup generator will kick in as soon as your main source of power fails. This also removes the need of having staff on-site manually flip the switch to turn on the generator. In other words, you can almost seamlessly maintain power to your business or facility.
The effect of a standby generator for your company is that you can keep the lights, and every other critical system on, as well as keep key equipment functioning to maintain relatively normal productivity. If your backup standby generator is outfitted with an ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch), here’s what happens behind the scenes to make that possible — a power loss cues the automatic transfer switch which signals the generator to turn on. The electrical load for a facility is then transferred to the generator. This process only takes seconds, so you won’t experience much disruption at all. Most backup generators use diesel, natural gas or propane to provide power.
Once your utility power is back on, the electrical load is prompted to automatically transfer back to the main power grid, and your generator will stop supplying power and go back to standby mode. With proper service & maintenance and paired with an ATS, standby generators are always ready for a power outage, so you won’t have to lift a finger to engage the generator when the time comes.
What Can Cause a Power Outage?
A company’s power supply can get cut off for several reasons. In most cases, a power outage occurs suddenly without much lead time to prepare, which is why it’s critical that you have a plan in place for backup power. Let’s look at a few circumstances that can result in a power outage at your facility:
- Winter weather
- Lightning storms
- Strong winds
- Vehicle collisions with utility poles
- Excavation digging
- Overdemand from heat waves
- Technological malfunctions
- Human error
- Friendly neighborhood squirrel
With so many possible causes for a power outage, it’s no wonder they’re so common. Your business cannot afford to act as though a power outage is unlikely to affect you. Instead, plan for it by installing a standby generator.
Benefits of Generators for Businesses
Now, let’s turn our attention to why you should have a standby generator at your business. There are many reasons to consider, and the benefits can differ from business to business since each company’s electrical needs differ. With that said, there are some reasons to have a backup generator that nearly any business should consider. We are going to look at six of these reasons, so you can determine whether your business should have a standby generator installed.
1. Maximize Uptime
First and foremost, having a standby generator in place can help you maintain your operations and avoid unplanned downtime. Downtime is the enemy of productivity and can cost you substantially. This is especially true for certain industries, such as manufacturing. Every year across the global manufacturing industry, 5%, or roughly $647 billion, of plant production is lost due to downtime.
The worst kind of downtime comes from unexpected disruptions. If your business were to suddenly lose power, consider how this would affect your productivity. Would workers be able to continue doing their jobs with no electrical power? The answer for most companies is no.
In the case of manufacturing facilities, a loss of power can bring production to a screeching halt, resulting in a domino effect of problems that can be extremely costly. It isn’t just factories whose productivity suffers from a power loss, though. You may have sales representatives who can’t email clients or file reports from their computers since their power supply has disappeared. You would be hard-pressed to find a business that did not rely in some way on electricity for their operations.
When you have a standby generator, you don’t have to worry about suffering financially from unplanned downtime. Instead, you can maintain your operations, even when your main source of power is lost. What could otherwise be a costly disruption can instead be another day of consistent productivity and maximized profits.
2. Stay Safe
When you consider the effects a power outage would have on your business, you’re likely to account for how it would affect your ability to remain productive and deliver the goods or services people expect from your business. While this should be a chief concern, the effects of a power outage on your company don’t stop there. Another detrimental effect of losing power is that it can compromise the safety of your workers.
This will look different from business to business. For some companies, the main issue may be a deactivated security system that would normally be protecting their facility from unauthorized access. For others, the main issue may be the loss of lighting in an area where employees could easily trip over equipment or otherwise be hurt. You could also end up with employees stuck in an elevator.
Depending on your business, there may be other ways a power outage would compromise the safety of your facility and your employees. Employees have a legal right to a safe workplace, so maintaining safety should always be a top priority for your company. When you have a standby generator, you can seamlessly maintain a safe environment at your business.
3. Maintain Comfort
If you’ve ever lost power at home when it was hot or cold outside, then you know how uncomfortable your home can quickly become without heat or air conditioning. Your business can also become an uncomfortable place for employees if an outage wipes out your HVAC systems. For offices, OSHA recommends you maintain a temperature in the range of 68 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level between 20 and 60%.
A temperature below or above this range may cause discomfort for employees that could inhibit their ability to focus on their work. At a certain point, a temperature can become extreme enough that your business isn’t just uncomfortable — it’s unsafe. A facility that is too hot can lead to employees suffering from heatstroke, for example. Even at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, employees can suffer from heat exhaustion, cramps, and can also result in dehydration. A facility that’s too cold can also lead to health hazards, especially for older adults or people who suffer from poor circulation.
If you have clients or customers at your business, their comfort will also be compromised by the loss of climate control systems as well as other features. For example, travelers staying in a hotel that loses power are likely to be upset by losing their lights, HVAC and potentially their hot water. When your guests’ comfort is vital to your business, a power outage can create a serious issue.
This means that a power outage during hot or cold months will quickly render your facility uncomfortable, unbearable or even unsafe. If you want to maintain a comfortable atmosphere in your facility, you need a standby generator that will keep your heat, air conditioning or other climate control systems operating as normal during a power outage.
4. Avoid Data Losses
In today’s digital world, another major concern for businesses in the event of a blackout is losing data. If your employees work on computers or other digital devices, a sudden loss of power can also mean a sudden loss of whatever they were working on.
The data loss risks don’t stop there, either. Both mechanical hard drives and the data stored on them can experience significant problems when an improper shutoff occurs. When you store information on your hard drive, you may never consider what would happen if your hard drive’s control board were shorted out by a power outage.
Businesses today depend on their data for a variety of functions, so a data loss could cause a ripple of serious issues throughout your organization. Losing important data isn’t just inconvenient. It could be catastrophic for many companies. If your business works with customer data, consider the consequences of losing their data, as well. If they trust you to keep their data secure, this could cause irreparable damage to your relationship with clients.
Well over half of small businesses are not prepared for experiencing a data loss. While having contingency plans in place is important, the best thing you can do is prevent data losses from occurring. In addition to backing up data on remote servers, make sure you have a standby generator that will automatically kick in when you need it so your computer systems stay on, and your data stays intact.
5. Prevent Product Losses
For some businesses, a major issue that a power loss can cause is a loss of product. Consider, for example, businesses that work with temperature-sensitive items, such as perishable food products. This could include manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
If the freezers at an ice cream distribution center stop working, it won’t take long before the ice cream starts to melt, rendering the product unsellable. In this scenario, a power outage could cost a company exponentially since they would have to throw away large amounts of product. It isn’t just the food and beverage industry that risks losing product in the event of a power outage. Other manufacturing plants may have to throw away damaged product after machines in their production line shut down suddenly.
Another example is a hospital, blood lab, pharmacy or any other medical facility that stores temperature-sensitive materials. A frozen vaccine, for example, must be kept at or below 5 degrees Fahrenheit or it could lose its potency. When pharmaceuticals and medical supplies are compromised, they can no longer be counted on to provide the treatment patients need and must be disposed of. Having a standby generator in place can provide peace of mind for any business that could suffer product losses if a power outage were to occur.
6. Demonstrate Your Reliability
Finally, one of the significant benefits of generators for businesses that can be overlooked is that they can help a company shine when other businesses are suffering. Let’s unpack that a bit.
When a power outage affects a whole community or geographical area, businesses and residential homes alike will be scrambling to deal with the consequences. Some businesses will have to close temporarily. These closures can easily extend beyond the time that power is out since it may involve having to repair or replace critical systems that were damaged by the power outage.
When your business has backup power in place that allows you to continue business as usual, rather than having to shut down, that can turn a power outage into a positive business opportunity rather than a problem. Let’s look at a restaurant, for example. When families are dealing with a loss of power at home, cooking can be a challenge, so eating out provides a valuable solution — that is, as long as they can find a restaurant that has a backup generator. This is where your restaurant can bring in many new and returning customers.
No matter what industry you’re in, keeping your doors open or your operations in full swing in spite of a power outage demonstrates that your company is dependable. Imagine being able to tell clients that they can count on you to deliver your goods or services, as usual, rather than telling them to expect delays, closures or shortages. It’s difficult to overestimate the value of maintaining a reputation for reliability.
Woodstock Is Your Trusted Source for Standby Generators
With such important benefits, a standby generator can be a serious asset to your business. Once you choose to have one installed, you’ll want to make sure you work with a company you can trust to supply you with the perfect solution for your facility and your budget. Woodstock Power Company is a name you can trust for new, used, surplus and rental generators. Our team includes industry experts that can help you determine your generator needs and find the right fit for your company.
Since we aren’t aligned with a certain brand, Woodstock Power offers a comprehensive range of options, so you always know you’re getting the best possible solution for your business. We can also save you as much as 70% off retail pricing on generators, making it possible for businesses working within tight budgets to equip themselves for an outage.
A power outage can spell disaster for some companies, but your business can stay in the black during a blackout by installing a standby generator. Start preparing for your next power outage by contacting Woodstock Power today.