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Car Crash in Washington Drives Power Protection Plans

May 26, 2017

  By Steve Anderson, Contributing Writer

Once again we have seen how easy it is to knock out power. For 550 customers around Scott Lake in Thurston County, Washington, it was just one car crash away. About 7:30 Tuesday morning, reports note, a car crashed into some utility equipment, prompting the outage in question. Recovery took the next several hours, and with that, we got a look at how important power protection plans really are.


The outage was originally expected to be restored by nine, noted Puget Sound Energy, but subsequent estimates pushed the time back to noon. Power has since been restored, as the outage map only shows outages from May 26, but it was likely still a point that drove home the need for power protection.

We all know that outages can take place at any time. Car crashes can be a major part of this; one report from the Insurance Information Institute noted that, in 2014, there were around 186,000 accidents that involved the connection of a car and a power pole or similar electrical emplacement. That means a hefty number of outages as well, and makes it only a matter of time until someone hits a pole and takes the power with it.

That can be catastrophic for a business; imagine the loss of potential opportunity being without power for even an hour, let alone an entire day. The employees are stopped, the computers don't run, the call center probably can't answer calls...it's the kind of thing that sends customers in a screaming panic to your competitors. So how do you protect against this? Start with power protection.

Interestingly, Puget Sound Energy offers one such power protection method in its Solar Choice program, which sets up a solar bank at a separate location and adds solar power to overall grid operation. It's not the best power protection program, but it might well function as a sort of one. Better still to install panels on your own house or business, or even use something as simple as an uninterruptible power supply like those commonly offered by Minuteman in order to provide a couple minutes of additional power to save work and shut down systems properly.

Regardless of the method used for power protection, the key takeaway here is that power protection is a vital part of ordinary operations, and if it isn't, it should be. We depend on electrical power to carry out most everyday functions, and without it, we run the risk of opening up advantages for competitors. With the right tools in place, meanwhile, we can protect against such risk and deliver our valuable goods and services as if a car never crashed into that power pole.




Edited by Maurice Nagle


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