Gunman Fires at Equipment, Causes Power Outage in Canada

December 01, 2017

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

Unplanned power outages can happen for any number of reasons, and are always an inconvenience.  There are measures that can be taken to decrease the risk of incidents involving weather and wildlife, but vandalism is harder to protect against, as SaskPower in Saskatechewan, Canada, has recently found out.

Early this week, bullets damaged two voltage regulators in Tisdale, causing about 400 customers to lose power for about four hours and causing $100,000 in damage.  SaskPower spokesperson Jordan Jackle noted that, while this particular situation is rare, any contact with energized equipment is dangerous and potentially life threatening.  This is, however, the second shooting-related outage the utility has suffered this year; in Warman, power was out after a shot was fired into a transformer back in July.

SaskPower clearly communicated the cause of the outage on its Twitter (News - Alert) account.

The inherent unpredictability of power outages is exactly why businesses have to be aware of the risks and preemptively install power protection technology before an outage or surge damages expensive equipment.  Seemingly insignificant, surges are brief and often unnoticeable, but can cause significant damage.  Business Week recently reported that power surges cost businesses $26 billion in time, repairs, and equipment replacement.

Power protection and backup systems are critical in insuring against outage- and surge-related losses.  Properly designed and installed, system can suppress surges and deliver near-instantaneous short-term power, which won’t allow businesses to operate for extended periods, but will allow all sensitive equipment to be properly shit down to avoid damages or lost data from the power loss or restoration.

Too often, businesses undervalue the importance of protecting equipment until it’s too late and they’ve had to invest in replacement systems and have had extended operational disruptions as a result.  It’s not unlike the all-too-common approach to cybersecurity – by the time you know you should have installed a better system, it’s probably far too late.

Edited by Erik Linask

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