Wind, Weather Cause Costly Power Outages

December 01, 2017

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

Regardless of climate, weather can often pose a danger to utility companies.  In Las Vegas, Nevada, several outages were reported on Monday afternoon, a particularly windy day with gusts reaching or exceeding 50mph on several occasions.  About 20 different outages were reported, resulting from downed trees, accidents, other incidents related to the high winds.  Several thousand residents were without power for several hours as NV Energy crews addressed the various outages across the county.

Because outages tend to come without warning – though residents and businesses can make educated guesses as to the probability of power loss given prevailing conditions – preemptive measures are vital to business sustainability.  Specifically, any sensitive or business critical technology should really be on power protection systems to keep them from being damaged by surges.  One of the greatest risks is damage to equipment when power is restored due to surges that can increase the voltage into equipment.

In addition to power protection, backup systems are recommended for any systems that require regular data updates and storage to ensure nothing is lost.  UPS systems generally aren’t designed for extended power, but allow businesses to shut down equipment safely during an outage.  If you haven’t invested in backup systems, turning off all power is a good way to ensure nothing is damaged when power come back on.

Though it varies from region to region, weather accounts for a significant percentage of all outages – up to 40 percent in some areas.  But, there are many other reasons for outages, and even if you have set up shop in the most mild climate, you should be prepared.  The total cost of replacing servers, switches and other network equipment can cause much more damage than protecting them initially.  Business Week has estimated that power surges cost U.S. businesses more than $26 billion, including lost time, repairs, and equipment replacement.

Edited by Erik Linask

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