Why Businesses Should Pay Attention to Planned Power Outages

August 18, 2017

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

Connecticut-based United Illuminating has warned customers in Fairfield, Bridgeport, and Easton of a planned predawn power outage Saturday.  The outage will allow the power company to conduct system tests at a Fairfield substation. 

Utilities regularly schedule planned outages in order to ensure the safety of crews conducting maintenance, testing, and repairs, as part of their goal to provide safe, reliable power to customers.  This includes preemptively protecting against sudden surges and outages caused by wildlife coming into contact with energized equipment, which results in an increasing number of outages nationally.

Knowing that even scheduled outages can be annoying, most utilities try to plan for minimal disruption while still allowing for maximum efficiency in completing the required work.  Fortunately, most planned outages are relatively short, largely because all required personnel, equipment, and supplies can be in place before de-energizing the impacted lines.  The impact of unplanned outages, on the other hand, tends to be much greater, making such maintenance critical to general customer satisfaction.

That said, there are impacts of all power outages – planned or not – that businesses should be aware of and prepare for.  That includes the potential for damage from initial surges when power is restored, and the loss of data when power is cut.  Both scenarios can be damaging to businesses from a cost, labor, operational, and customer satisfaction perspective and can be easily avoided by installing power protection and UPS systems.

These systems can be designed to protect any sensitive office, network, and data center equipment that can’t safely or efficiently be shut down in advance of a planned outage.  Of course, unexpected interruptions present the same risk, but without the advance notice that allows equipment to be shut down, making UPS systems even more critical for businesses that rely on their technology – which is effectively any business today.

Systems are available in many configurations to ensure proper protection is in place for any business, regardless of size or requirements.  They can include a variety of solutions, including UPS, extended runtime options, remote power management, power distribution, and surge suppression capabilities.  Depending on the nature of the business and type of equipment, any or all of these options will help ensure operational continuity and system resiliency when outages happen.  Planned outages are an ideal time to test installed systems to ensure they provide the required and expected protection, and to upgrade, if needed, so when a more significant and potentially damaging outage occurs, costly damage is avoided.

Edited by Alicia Young

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