Power Protection: Lovers Left in the Dark on Valentine's Day Due to a V-Day Gift Gone Wrong

February 22, 2012

By Carrie Majewski (née Schmelkin) - Director of Content Marketing, Content Boost

It was not all roses and warmth on Valentine’s Day last week as a gift meant for someone’s significant other ended up inadvertently leaving a good portion of California residents without power Tuesday night. 

A helium-filled balloon, which Sothern California Edison officials are saying was most likely a Valentine’s gift, strayed from its course and accidently directly hit Southern California Edison’s (News - Alert) Fontana substation on Feb. 14. The result was that 15,099 sweethearts were left without power and were forced to amend their Valentine’s Day plans. The outage lasted about an hour.

The Fontana substation was the second to encounter problems in Southern California on Tuesday night as the Huntington Beach substation went out at 7:42 p.m., affecting 21,285 customers. The cause of that outage was not known. 

Whether it be Valentine’s Day gifts, construction accidents, traffic accidents or employee sabotage, outages can be caused by a variety of nonconventional factors. And, accordingly, businesses must be aware of the importance of power protection products as bouts of downtime (caused by things as trivial as Valentine’s Day gifts), can wreak havoc for businesses, according to officials at Minuteman UPS/Para Systems (News - Alert), a leading provider of power protection units.

“The ‘Valentine’s Blackout’ brings a few considerations for business owners,” Duston Nixon, marketing communications specialist for Minuteman, told TMCnet. “First, no matter how much consideration is made, freak outages can and will occur, often from very unexpected, seemingly harmless sources.”

“The second thing to note from this story is the amount of time the power was down,” he added. “An hour and 10 minutes of darkness followed the incident, a figure which would likely have been longer if not for the fast work of the electrical crew. Business owners must consider that while most outages are only a few minutes, the average extended outage can last several hours. This can leave your customers hanging, leading to lost sales, missed service, and other immeasurable expenses if the proper power protection plan is not in place.”

In fact, recent research from the Electric Power Research Institute has found that, on average, a one second power outage costs a business $1,477, and the tab for a one hour outage comes to $7,795. Overall, this costs the U.S. economy between $104 and $164 billion annually.

Yet another survey, from Stratus Technologies (News - Alert) and ITIC Corporation, found that more than half of the businesses (52 percent) do not know the potential financial impact of IT downtime and the impact it can have on their bottom line and reputation.

The survey also revealed that although 48 percent of companies currently calculate the cost of IT downtime, most of them still drastically underestimate the actual costs of outages, the ensuing remediation efforts, customer dissatisfaction, and the increased potential of litigation. For example, 35 percent of survey respondents believe that one-hour of downtime for their most business critical applications will cost their company $25,000 or less, which shows they are underestimating the adverse impact that IT downtime can have on their entire businesses.

Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves