Planned Power Outages a Great Opportunity for Testing Power Protection Systems

July 14, 2018

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

Hawaiian Electric has notified 400 business and 2,500 residential customers that they will be experiencing planned overnight power outages for the next three weeks, as the utility company upgrades some of its underground cabling. 

According to the company, the work is a preemptive measure to avoid safety risks from failed or faulty coupling devices, which connect high-voltage lines to circuits delivering power to businesses and residences.  Hawaiian Electric also says these connecting devices have cause problems for other utilities.

While the outages will be a potentially significant inconvenience, the proactive repairs could save much more in damages and repair costs in the future.

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 preemptive efforts, such as the work Hawaiian Electric is undertaking, but also includes upgrading aging equipment in substations and other parts of the power grid to limit unexpected outages due to equipment failure.

Naturally, most utilities try to plan for minimal disruption while ensuring they are able to complete their work, which is why planned outages typically happen during the overnight hours. 

Still, the impact of planned outages on business equipment is no less than with unexpected outages, and businesses should be aware of the risks and plan appropriately.  Those risks include the potential for damage to sensitive technology or data loss when power is cut and restored, which can be damaging to businesses from a cost, labor, operational, and customer satisfaction perspective – regardless of when they outages happen – 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.

Power protection systems are available in many configurations to fit any business size or type, and can include a variety of configurations, including UPS, extended runtime options, remote power management, power distribution, and surge suppression capabilities.  These features are designed specifically to help ensure operational continuity and system resiliency during power outages and can be the difference between normal operations and lost business and major expenses 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.

Edited by Erik Linask