The power going out on Halloween may have seemed like perfect timing by revelers, but for close to 10,000 residents in Jersey City it was nothing to celebrate. According to PSE&G, at around 10 p.m. its Morgan St. station experienced equipment failure, which resulted in residents losing power for almost three hours.
The power was restored for most of the PSE&G customers by midnight, with the remaining few having to wait until 1 a.m. before they had power.
Whether it is Halloween or any other night of the year, losing power is a great inconvenience. When you take into account the devices we have in our homes and businesses that rely on electricity, it is glaringly obvious. Add to this the current environment in the workplace, which supports remote work, the personal computers, smartphones and other peripherals in the home also become susceptible to power spikes, outages and brownouts that can take place at any time, just as the incident in Jersey City pointed out.
You can protect your computers and other electronics using surge protectors and UPS systems whether you are at home or not. A surge protector works by suppressing the excess voltage when it rises above the acceptable level. The mechanism that is inside the device absorbs the excess voltage and diverts it to the ground wire before it reaches your computer or anything else you have connected to it.
In choosing a surge protector, make sure it has the necessary joules. A joule rating lets you know the amount of energy your surge protector will absorb before it fails: higher is better. For small electronics 1,000 joules is enough, but as you start protecting more expensive equipment such as home theater and computers with valuable data, look for units in excess of 2,000 joules.
It is also important to note a power surge can come from any connected device; this includes cables for your Internet and phone. Some surge protectors provide outlets for your phone and cables, so look for those options when you are shopping for one.
You should also look for warranties. A company that makes quality surge protectors and UPS systems offers warranty up to a certain amount for the connected equipment. Last but not least, get portable surge protectors for your laptops or smartphones. If you happen to be traveling or you are on location, they are a great resource to have.
A surge protector is really not an option. There are too many devices that we rely on that are dependent on electricity, and they are not cheap. But surge protectors are very affordable, and they provide a critical function in protecting these devices.