Power Protection Plans Vital in Nation's Schools, Argues Minuteman

March 22, 2011

By Susan J. Campbell - Power Protection Contributing Editor

Utility power has a certain unpredictability about it that can lead to concerns for both businesses and educational organizations. Unfortunately, the need for energy is outpacing utility providers’ abilities to update equipment, forcing the use of outdated equipment that can lead to increased outages. When these outages occur in schools, more than just technology is put at risk.

Recently, a marketing consultant from Minuteman UPS/Para Systems, a power protection company that offers UPSs for computers, servers, peripherals, voice and data communication systems, security systems and other mission-critical equipment, wrote a report focusing on the importance of power protection within the educational environment.

The consultant, Duston Nixon, argued that this is a growing concern given that research conducted by the University of Minnesota suggests that non-disaster related power outages in the U.S. have increased 124 percent since in the early 1990s. So, while technology everywhere else is improving, power outages are rapidly increasing.

For educators, one unexpected power event can create a nightmare scenario for faculty, students and parents. Most of the controls within the educational environment put in place to create a safe environment are powered by electricity. If an unexpected outage occurs, the entire school and all inside are put at risk. This heightened risk puts additional attention on the importance of power protection.

This power protection is necessary to ensure consistent operation of security systems, which renders administrators helpless if access controls fail and the emergency notification system cannot detect fire or other problems. Clean electricity is also necessary for communications equipment and network devices, which help to deliver secure protection for all school students and staff.

Therefore, Minuteman suggests that the offensive approach to power protection is the necessary approach. This approach starts with ensuring all peripheral equipment is integrated with a quality surge suppressor, protecting against power surges and spikes. UPSs are also a must-have for vital systems, and mission critical situations may demand large amounts of backup energy, including gas or diesel power generators. Ultimately, the primary focus for any power protection plan is the elimination of a single point of failure.

For critical systems, standby UPSs, or off-line UPSs, are the lowest cost options. Standby UPSs offer surge protection and backup power through simple circuitry and passes utility power through until the power problem occurs. Line Interactive UPSs are a better option that offers automatic voltage regulation to boost power when voltage dips and buck power when a surge occurs. Still, true On-Line UPSs provide the highest quality power protection with a double-conversion of utility power.

Any organization that relies on electrical power for standard operation cannot afford to ignore the importance of a power protection plan. This plan needs to consider both the budget and the runtime requirements, but it will force the organization to understand the necessary tools to have in place to protect viable assets. In the schools, those assets are of course the children.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

Power Your campus

Featured Whitepapers

Security & Power: The Critical Role of Power Protection for Security

This White Paper provides security users and installers with valuable information about the importance of power protection for security equipment.

Saving Time & Money with Remote Power Management

This White Paper provides statistics and information about the cost of downtime related to remote equipment, and how organizations can benefit from including remote power management products (IP-addressable PDUs) in their power protection strategy.

Powering Your Disaster Planning

The white paper describes key components of a comprehensive plan to prevent businesses and other organizations from suffering severe consequences as a result of a power outage.

Featured Technotes

What is 3-phase Power?

This installment of the TechNotes series takes you through the basics of single, dual, and 3-phase power, giving you the knowledge to decide which type of power is best for your needs.

Endeavor: Added Runtime vs. Added Cost

This TechNotes paper looks at the relationship between added cost and added runtime when including XL battery packs with Minuteman Endeavor 1kVA, 2kVA, & 3kVA UPSs.