Power Failure Shuts Mall, Businesses in Rapid City, South Dakota

April 23, 2018

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

Equipment failure was the cause of a power outage that forced businesses in Rushmore Mall in Rapid City, South Dakota to close for most of the day Sunday.  Hundreds of area residences and some other nearby businesses were also without electricity from about 9:30am Sunday until 6:00pm when power was fully restored to the affected area.

Though power was restored partially during the day, it was only for short periods.  Eventually, half the mall was operational, but full restoration took until early evening, six hours longer than initial estimates from Black Hills Energy.  Many businesses waited out the disruption, but others were forced to simply close their doors for the day and resign themselves to opening again Monday morning.

Each business was impacted by the outage due to lost business, and naturally, food service operations expressed concerns that a lengthy outage would cause spoilage and thaw frozen items in storage.

The other concern during any outage is technology – specifically, damage that can occur at the point of outage or restoration.  With every business dependent upon electricity to power networks, servers, switches, transactions and other communications, and other equipment, disruption due to equipment damage can shut down operations for much longer than the outage itself.  If POS devices, servers, or network switches aren’t protected from surges, they can easily be damaged by surges.  In fact, surges and power fluctuations happen even without power loss.

Knowing that, it’s incumbent upon business owners, managers, and IT staff to put power protection into technology strategy plans.  They are an investment, but no more so than security, network redundancy, or other precautionary expenses that are necessary to ensure operational continuity.  UPS systems provide, at a minimum, provide enough backup power to properly shut down systems to avoid damage and data loss, or for longer periods to keep systems functional during outages.  They also regulate voltage to protect systems from spikes and surges, which can damage circuitry requiring costly repairs, replacement, and downtime.

Edited by Erik Linask