If you never believed that the United States power grid was a fragile thing, and that power protection was a sound investment, then just ask the residents of Durham, North Carolina. Durhamites lost power for around two hours on a recent Sunday afternoon thanks not to inclement weather or terrorism or even rogue wildlife...but rather to a really big balloon.
Word from Duke Energy (News - Alert) made the full scale of the problem clear, as around 2,000 customers lost power around three that afternoon, and didn't recover power until about five that night. Durham police revealed the strange cause, as officials noted “...a large balloon is believed to be the source of the power outage.” Police stayed mum about the origins of said balloon, and warned motorists to avoid the area at the time.
While this outage was fairly quickly addressed, and came on a day when many businesses were likely shut anyway or at least planning to close early, it still raises the value of power protection for businesses. Whether it's something as simple as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) like those commonly offered by Minuteman to provide a little extra power to allow users to save work and shut down computers properly or a complete generation system, having that bit of extra protection can be useful.
A power outage can cripple businesses, and that's why many firms—most notably AXA—have turned to installing backup generators in businesses. AXA recently experienced a blackout of its own, but thanks to its power protection mechanisms, it could carry on with minimal disruption and little in the way of loss. Having power when the competition doesn't provides a wide-open field for operations, and potentially can swing some customers away from current providers. That's a proposition whose value is hard to understate; after all, who wants to wait for the power to come back on to do business? If the backup power provision is a green source, like wind or solar, businesses can even realize some PR value out of the whole affair, promoting the effort as a way to help reduce a carbon footprint.
No matter what form power protection takes—from the simplest UPS unit to the most complex solar panel array—just remember: this is an investment in power insurance, and considering that most businesses are much more likely to lose power than catch fire, the value of power insurance via power protection is easily higher than many common insurance options. So pick up your power insurance, and get some power protection systems in place.