Syracuse Outage Demonstrates Power Protection's Value

March 17, 2017

By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

Winter is finally coming to an end, and though this winter was comparatively mild by most any standard—especially in some areas—it seems to be going out with a bit of a bang. Sufficiently so, in fact, that Syracuse, New York recently saw an outage of its own, and a substantial one at that. The specifics around the incident, and its immediate aftermath, all demonstrate the value of power protection systems.

The reports noted that the outages started—based on word from National Grid—when a substation went down for reasons unknown. The power, in turn, went down to about 1,650 customers around noon, and estimates suggested the power would be back on by about 5:00. The estimates proved slightly flawed, as reports noted power was restored to all but 177 customers by 6:15.

The outage shut down several parts of Syracuse and surroundings, particularly the Federal Building and the Onondaga County Courthouse, as well as significant portions—but apparently not all—of the Syracuse University campus. Indeed, the Federal Building shut down operations altogether, as did the courthouse; the Federal Building actually had no heat during the incident. Syracuse University sent home any worker who was working in a building that had lost power, though thankfully, university students were on spring break when this happened, and therefore not much disruption happened on that front.

However, in this outage, there was a demonstration of power protection's value; the AXA insurance company, operating in AXA Towers, noted that power was out for just over two hours before, at about 2:15, the company went on backup generators. AXA spokesman John Cline noted that “there was no appreciable business interruption.”

That in a nutshell is the biggest reason to have power protection measures in place. Not that backup generators are specifically required; some power protection can be as simple as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system that allows just a little extra energy for workers to shut down systems properly and save work.  The more robust the power protection system, though, the better the chance that “no appreciable business interruption” will take place. AXA has demonstrated that having backup generation systems can help keep business running even when grid power is out, and your author has likewise seen that effect thanks to his own power protection methods.

Personally, anecdotally, and even statistically, power protection methods have been proven time and again to mean direct, appreciable value for business. No matter what form it takes, having it ready to go before an outage helps ensure that business will carry on no matter what the outside world can throw at it.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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