Spate of Recent Outages Highlight Power Protection Importance

December 21, 2015

By Laura Stotler - Power Protection Contributing Editor

Heavy snow in Bend, OR last week left around 9,000 Midstate Electric Cooperative customers without power, with some customers reporting outages lasting 61.5 hours. The incident was just one in a series of power outages reported throughout the country over the past few weeks, highlighting the importance of having effective power protection systems and backup in place.

In Wisconsin, strong winds left more than 6,400 homes and businesses throughout Milwaukee County without power. A squirrel was the culprit in a power outage at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, while an outage in Michigan caused Cedar Springs schools to be canceled.

An outage in South Bend, IN may have ultimately been the most wide-reaching and disruptive, since it shut down power at the Union Station Technology Center downtown. That facility houses the data suite for I-Light Network, which provides Internet service to a number of educational facilities in Indiana. Consequently, Internet service was disrupted for more than two hours at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana University South Bend, Holy Cross College, Ivy Tech Community College (News - Alert) and Bethel College – amidst the critical final exam testing period.

I-Light reported the outage was a dual power failure, with both the main power source and the backup system failing during a critical period. The outage points to the importance of having proper power protection and backup in place, particularly in the data center. Companies like Minuteman Power Technologies (News - Alert) specialize in systems and equipment designed to handle the power needs of specific vertical markets like the IT/Networking sector. According to Minuteman, effective power protection must take into account the specific design of each individual network. The company offers everything from surge protectors to a scalable series of UPS systems and accessories along with services and support.

Interestingly, Minuteman products are used in Indiana University’s (News - Alert) data center at its main campus in Bloomington, which remained up and running during the I-Light outage. The center houses the University’s supercomputer and was built specifically to withstand power outages and damages from weather and other disastrous events.


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