What is Low Voltage Switchgear?

We explore what low voltage switchgear is, the importance of regular servicing of equipment and the protection that LV switchgear offers.

What is Switchgear?

The main functions of switchgear are to provide-

  • Electrical Protection
  • Electrical Isolation of installations, circuits and equipment
  • Local or remote switching

Switchgear systems connected to the electric supply system, de-energise equipment for maintenance, and defect testing. Without switchgear in place, whenever there is a short circuit or failure on the power system, a heavy current runs through the electric equipment, damaging the equipment and disrupting the end user.

Switchgear is used in electric utility transmission and distribution systems at commercial or industrial facilities of varying size. The safety standards for electrical switchgear are defined by IEC in Europe.

LV Switchgear

Low voltage switchgear is rated up to 1KV and consists of low voltage switches, earth leakage circuit breakers, HRC fuses, electrical isolators, Air circuit breakers (ACB), Moulded case circuit breakers (MCCB) and Miniature circuit breakers (MCB).

With LV switchgear, electrical appliances are safeguarded against short circuit and overload by an electrical circuit breaker, but the operator is not protected against internal faults. By using an earth leakage circuit breaker, which detects leakage current, operators will be guarded as the appliance is disconnected before any harm is done.

Low Voltage Switchgear Equipment

LV Switchgear Offers Electrical Protection

A key function of low voltage switchgear is to provide electrical protection against thermal and mechanical stresses of short circuit currents. This is crucial in limiting the dangerous consequences of excessive currents and separating the defective current from the rest of the installation. LV switchgear provides protection to human operatives and appliances such as electric motors.

Using LV Switchgear for Isolation Purposes

Isolation allows for the separation of a circuit or apparatus from an energised system, so that the isolated part can be worked on or maintained in safety.

Local and Remote Control Utilising a LV Switchgear

Having switchgear control allows the operator to modify a loaded system for the purpose of functional control and emergency switching. Operators can energise or de-energise a part of an electrical system or even an individual piece of equipment. It also allows for an emergency stop, when a live circuit has become dangerous.

Maintenance Services for LV Switchgear

Regular services of any make and size of low voltage switchgear should be scheduled to ensure reliable ongoing operation. The team at Shenton Group carry out annual maintenance work, or one-off servicing for LV switchgear including a visual inspection, clean and lubrication.

Contact our team for further information, or to speak to us about ongoing maintenance services.

Examples of Switchgear

Switchgear is a combination of fuses, electrical disconnect switches or breakers, which isolate, protect and control electrical equipment. Examples of switchgear include:

  • Fuses
  • Switches
  • Relays
  • Isolators
  • Circuit breakers
  • Contactors

Shenton Group recently carried out a low voltage switchgear project in London Docklands, and another in Liverpool for a telecoms company. If you require support, advice or are keen to start a project involving low voltage switchgear, then get in touch today.

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Temporary Power for COVID Testing Sites and Healthcare Facilities

2020 and 2021 have seen a surge in the need for critical backup power solutions, with hospitals, COVID testing facilities and unfortunately morgues at full stretch.

With pop up COVID testing sites on the rise throughout the country, our generator rental services are available for those in need of a temporary power solution to help keep the UK’s mass testing and vaccination efforts going.

Here to Help in the Fight Against COVID

With a severe shortage of hospital beds in some areas of the UK, a number of temporary medical sites serving various purposes have been setup to handle the overspill. On top of this, the UK is undertaking the largest vaccination programme ever seen, at the same time as mass testing those who potentially have contracted the virus.

Because of this and the introduction of all kinds of temporary healthcare facilities, the need for a reliable power solution has perhaps never been greater.

Shenton Group are available 24/7 with standby and prime power generator equipment available to hire for short and long term periods, to supply COVID testing sites, temporary hospitals, morgues and vaccination facilities with a reliable source of power.

We are able to deliver, install and provide turnkey power solutions as well as deliver the ongoing maintenance for clients using temporary locations, so that testing, patient care or vaccinations can take place uninterrupted.

Our Generators and Power Solutions are Suitable For:

  • Temporary Testing Sites
  • Drive Through Testing Sites
  • School, College and University Testing
  • Vaccination Sites
  • Temporary Medical Centres & Hospitals
  • Temporary Morgue Locations
Generator Rental for Vaccine Centres

What Do We Offer?

Technical expertise ensuring the correct solution.

Our technical team will carefully assess your power needs on site and will be able to discuss different options with you ensuring all of your demands are met. 

National coverage – we can get things moving quickly.

With depots dotted across the UK, we can have the required rental generator prepared and on the road fast. Project management is a speciality of ours, allowing us to execute the logistics of delivering all the equipment to your site with ease.

Our team will advise you on the exact equipment required and recommend a solution tailored to the scale of the facility. With 30kVA generators up to 1250kVA available, our team can also synchronise multiple generators for larger power requirements.

We can deliver a solution for everyone.

With an array of equipment, supplies and expertise available, we are able to provide a temporary power solution that works for you. No matter if, you require generator rental for lighting, temperature control, or equipment, our team of engineers are ready to help.

Generator Rental For COVID Testing

The Benefits of Choosing Shenton Group as Your Supplier

We have continued to work safely and effectively throughout the pandemic, providing power solutions to care homes, retail clients and healthcare locations.

We are adept with the safety procedures are requirements that come with working with hospitals and NHS Trusts, and have done for a number of years. We provide generator maintenance contracts and use industry-leading equipment to give clients that peace of mind and crucially for healthcare, guaranteed reliable power.

Rather than just provide a rental generator, we offer continued help to our clients. We will arrange the logistics of delivery, complete the setup of the generator including full testing and fuel supply, and if necessary provide an engineer for the duration of the project too. We can continue to monitor, maintain and support you with the power supply for as long as the temporary site is operational.

At Shenton Group, we have a culture of dedication, persistence and innovation and in these testing times, we are here to help. Our team of project managers and technical experts are just a call away, so please do get in touch if you require a temporary power solution.

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Energy Security – How Secure is Your Supply?

Energy security is an important consideration for businesses and organisations that rely on continuous power. Consider the stakes that are currently ongoing with the NHS heading towards full capacity and the huge impact that any interruption to power supply would cause.

Likewise, in supermarkets, the stress, aggravation and reputational damage that would occur in the event that they have to shut up shop due no power, would be a PR nightmare. There are countless examples of situations where power supply is taken for granted until something goes wrong.

Energy security involves minimising risk by updating or renewing infrastructure, adopting safe and secure technology and being able to switch to another resource in the event that there is a mains failure. Securing energy supply is essential and having a backup plan for the worst-case scenarios, has never been more important.

An Energy Security Strategy is Crucial

For many organisations reliant on continuous power, an energy security strategy is fundamental to make sure they can continue to operate even in the event of a mains power failure. At Shenton Group, we provide businesses and organisations with reliable solutions and on-going support for backup generators and continuous power systems such as UPS. 

We help organisations become more robust in uncertain times, safeguarding them from failures in energy infrastructure, extreme natural events, when demand outgrows supply and when energy resources are depleted.

What is Energy Security?

Energy security involves having a reliable backup power supply available in the event that mains power is lost by surges, spikes and outages. Generators and UPSs are often utilised to ensure there are no interruption to day to day business, which is vital for sectors such as healthcare, telecoms, data centres and finance.

Secure & Low Carbon Combined Heat & Power Systems 

Where there is electrical and heat demand, it is possible to install CHP infrastructure to generate power independently on-site. Producing power on-site, and in this way is more efficient as you can harness the heat produced in the process of creating electricity.

With the National Grid becoming ever more unreliable with power cuts happening more frequently across the UK, organisations are investing in their own power solutions to ensure greater power security.

Diversifying Energy Supply

CHP systems are worth considering when it comes to assessing energy security. Producing your power on site independently not only increases your energy security but it is also a more efficient way to produce your energy, benefits include reductions on your energy costs and carbon footprint.

Our energy experts at Shenton Group help leverage CHP to enable organisations to generate additional revenue by selling surplus energy supply back to the National Grid.

By diversifying energy supply, it is possible to secure the ability to rely on a domestic supply that you are in control of, gaining access to emergency stocks and enhancing the overall resilience of your organisation.

Energy ‘Insurance’ in Challenging Times

For some organisations dependent on power, being reliant on the UK’s production capacity is no longer worth the risk. The National Grid regularly put out advanced notices of energy shortfalls when renewable sources aren’t producing sufficient supply. Although this generally amounts to nothing, when you are wholly reliant on power to operate, why take the risk when you can have energy security infrastructure in place? 

Given the frequency of the warnings put out by the National Grid, customers often turn to Shenton Group for backup generator and UPS systems, preventing fallout with widespread power problems, as seen back in August 2019.

It isn’t just power cuts that cause issues, spikes and surges cause damage to IT, medical and manufacturing equipment. UPSs protect customers from mains related power problems and ensure there is no break in power. With remote monitoring and ongoing maintenance services available, the team at Shenton Group are on hand to ensure that your power equipment remains reliable around the clock. For more information on our maintenance packages and to discuss your energy resilience strategy, get in touch today.

Help Secure Future Power Supply with UPS

UPS is the ultimate tool in terms of energy security. During that handful of seconds when a generator starts to take the full electrical load, the UPS provides access to power ensuring there is no break in power and provides protection from any serious consequences. Shenton Group specialises in UPS and are known in the industry as the UK’s Leading Technical Experts.

For clients with a dependency on continuous power, we have UPS solutions available to prevent any power supply implications such as power failure, under-voltage and power surges. 

Time to Review Your Energy Security Strategy?

As the UK moves towards a greener future with the electricity grid less reliant on traditional fossil fuel-fired power stations, there are power challenges ahead meaning it might be the right time to review your energy security.

  • The diversification of energy supplies from power plants to cleaner methods may lead to capacity issues. 
  • According to some sources, 70% of natural gas will be imported to the UK by 2025 meaning power supplies might be impacted by the supply chain. 

Protect Your Power Supply with a Solution from Shenton Group

We provide FREE no obligation site surveys to assess your site so we can accurately recommend solutions that fit your needs.

If you have a need for power and heat, our technical team will run calculations to establish if CHP would be a viable option for you. Or if you are looking to improve your power security, we can advise on the most suited power solution for your needs be it generator and/or UPS. Being a manufacturer, and having accesses to leading equipment, we can design a bespoke solution specific to your needs.

Whatever the challenges you face are, speak to us today to arrange a free site visit or to discuss the potential avenues available to improve your energy security. 

For further reading visit our white papers on:

Disaster Recovery Planning – how to create a resilient strategy

How important is power continuity to your business?

When is CHP the right renewable energy choice?

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Looking at the Recent Power News & Trends

The headline story in recent weeks has been the much discussed planned multi-billion pound spend on renewable energy that is set to arrive throughout the next decade, with vast amounts invested in energy storage technology, nuclear power and the UK’s EV charging network.

New Petrol & Diesel Cars Banned From 2030

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that new cars and vans powered by petrol and diesel would no longer be sold in the UK from 2030, sparking a new dawn and forming part of a “green industrial revolution.” In the race to clean up motoring, the UK now sits in second place behind Norway whose fossil fuel abolition date is 2025.

As we steer towards a new world of relying on electric vehicles, there are questions around where we will charge our cars and how this energy will be generated in the first place. The government has a ten-point plan including offshore wind power and hydrogen production for industry, transport, power and homes, while there are also plans to invest £1.3 billion in EV charging points and improving charge point infrastructure.

Can the UK energy grid cope with a rise in EVs?

Graeme Cooper, National Grid’s Project Director – Transport Decarbonisation, addressed this question on the National Grid website back in February.

He referred to two key points –

1.      Enough capacity exists to cope.

With improved energy efficiency, such as the installation of solar panels, the national peak demand has fallen by 16% since 2002, when the demand for electricity was 62GW. Even if the UK switched to EVs overnight, Mr Cooper said ‘we think demand would only increase by around 10 per cent. So we’d still be using less power as a nation than we did in 2002 and this is well within the range of manageable load fluctuation.’

2.      When the demand occurs

The more complicated issue for the National Grid would be when the demand for power occurs, as the majority of commuters head home around 6pm to 8pm to plug in their EV’s at what is already peak time in terms of cooking, heating the home, using appliances and enjoying downtime.

Mr Cooper said of this challenge ‘If we want to provide sufficient infrastructure and energy for EVs as cheaply as possible for consumers, we ideally don’t want to add to that evening peak and need to spread that demand better.’

Future car chargers will need to be ‘smart by design’ so the vehicle will charge, but pause at peak times when demand is high and energy costs are at their peak.

Electric Vehicle Charging

New Consoles Drive Record Broadband Data Use

The UK’s leading internet providers have experienced record broadband use in recent weeks with the new PS5 & Xbox consoles driving demand, as well as the large files being downloaded for fresh releases including the Call of Duty games franchise.

The BBC reported that for BT “broadband traffic peaked at 18 terabits per second (Tbps) – equivalent to delivering about 1,510 hours of high-definition video every second.”

Throughout the lockdown periods, there has been an increased demand for connectivity and power at residential property, whether that is for work purposes, or to meet the rising demands required for continually innovative games consoles.  This has demand for energy to power the consoles as gamers enjoy the newest releases, has however been offset with less electricity required for industrial or commercial usage.

Britain Fires up Coal Plants to Meet Electricity Shortfall

All of the ‘Green Economy’ plans outlined are a sign that the UK is heading in the right direction to a cleaner future, but right now electricity shortfalls are still commonplace.

Some of the last remaining coal power plants are still being used to help keep the lights on up and down the country whenever the supply from wind turbines tails off, as seen as recently as Thursday 26th November, where energy generated from coal supplied 6% of our electricity.

The colder weather and slowdown in wind power has meant that power plants in Drax remain operational to provide a cushion of extra supplies when renewable generation levels vary.  

The tighter margins have been commonplace in recent months as seen via the National Grids ESO Twitter account –

Reliable Power Solutions

If your business depends on power continuity, why not contact Shenton Group to discuss the solutions available to safeguard your power security? Power cuts continually cause issues across the UK, as seen during the last week in Bournemouth, Newport on the Isle of Wight and in Yorkshire.

It pays to have a backup power solution to ensure a reliable energy source, even when there is a disruption with the National Grid. 2020 has caused enough disruption to businesses and organisations already, and our team have been working hard to support clients during the pandemic with more pressure than ever to keep power supplies secure.  

Get in touch and speak to our experts today.

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Data Centres Are Turning to CHP to Cut Costs

The information and communications technology (ICT) sector predicts to use 20 percent of all the world’s electricity by 2025 and emit up to 5.5 percent of all carbon emissions.

Data centres use vast amounts of electricity to keep up with the computing power required for even a single data floor, before the infrastructure of the cooling system is even considered. It is imperative to maintain optimal climate conditions for data centres to function efficiently and to prevent any risk of overheating and outage, hence the important nature of an effective cooling system.

Data centres are only going to scale up in the years to come, further driving up running costs and utility bills. So imagine if there was a solution to produce cheaper electricity and benefit from a more efficient way to cool equipment. Better still, a reliable, affordable power source that helps to reduce carbon footprint. Enter CHP.

Introducing CHP – The Future of Datacentre Power Infrastructure?

CHP is a proven and reliable power source, and in the current climate, with businesses under pressure to reduce costs, the ability to create electricity on-site is hugely attractive given how cost-effective it is, especially when compared to relying on the ever increasingly unreliable, National Grid.

Combined Cooling Heat & Power Systems (CCHP), also known as Tri-Generation is the process of generating electricity and heat. Due to the limited traditional heat demands within Data Centres the Low Temperature Hot Water generated is converted to chilled water. This chilled water is essential for data centres as it can provide an abundance of cool air that can be utilised in server rooms.

In order to transfer the hot water from the generator into valuable cool thermal energy the CCHP system will include an absorption chiller. There are various types of absorption chillers.

The operational principle remains similar on all systems.

  • For a low pressure system absorption fluid is evaporated. By evaporating the heat it is removes heat from the chilled water.
  • Heat in the form of 90°C LTHW from the Generator is used to regenerate the Absorption solution.
  • Thus chilled water is generated and fully utilised in place of electric chillers.

This process ensures all the energy from the Generator is captured and utilised, while offsetting a significant amount of electrical power data centres would otherwise use to generate chilled water via electric chillers.

Investing in CHP to Power a Data Centre

CHP has the potential to reduce Data Centre utility bills by up to 40%. For those looking for a quick ROI, payback is delivered in less than three years based on a 40% saving.

To help run your Data Centre more efficiently, CHP will ensure that the Data Centre uses more of the power produced on site, when compared to using more traditional power sources such as obtaining power from the national grid, where energy wastage is high as well as unreliable. Furthermore, a Data Centre using CHP will also reduce its carbon footprint as you are relying on gas engines.

A More Reliable Power Source

CHP can provide increased resilience and energy security to Data Centres along with significantly reduced energy costs. Having a CHP as part of your power infrastructure increases system efficiencies and sustainability. When combined with traditional UPS and backup diesel generators as part of a microgrid, this can ensure a failsafe solution to an industry that cannot compromise on energy security.

Data Centre Reliant on CHP

Opting for natural gas fuelled power generation, reduces carbon footprint, which is important to many organisations wary of environmental concerns. Gas powered CHPs can assist Data Centres in not only addressing energy costs but have a major impact on reducing CO2 emissions.

In addition to this, surplus energy produced on site can be sold back to the grid, providing a new revenue stream for your business.

As a specialist in CHP and having delivered thousands of power solutions to the financial and data centre sectors, Shenton Group is on hand to assess the commercial and technical needs of your CHP or microgrid solution, as well as implement the technology. Our team of experts maintain CHP, generators and UPS systems across the UK, so you can trust us as your energy infrastructure partner, and reap the rewards of using a more reliable and cleaner source of energy.

Key Benefits of CHP

  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Reduce energy costs
  • Reduce or eliminate dependence on the Grid
  • Continuous Power Supply
  • Increased energy security
  • Free cool thermal bi-product
Working in a Data Centre

Reputation Protection

Outages and downtime have a disastrous impact on banking and finance organisations, as banks, trading floors, and financial systems are completely reliant on continuous power. As a society, we depend on data centres and cloud storage to access and manage our money online, and should the power fail, the damage to reputation and revenue of businesses who handle our finances is huge.

Shenton Group has carried out detailed audits and assessments for Data Centre clients for many years, adapting to the growing demands for continuous power to keep the lights on at all times. We have an excellent track record of designing and deploying power solutions, to uphold the reputation of clients in the world of IT, Finance and Banking.

We understand the importance of power security and help to protect operations through the introduction and ongoing maintenance of CHP, and other solutions for when the mains power fails.

Get In Touch

To discover more about CHP and Data Energy microgrids, the environmental and cost savings on offer and to implement a power solution at your Data Centre, get in touch and speak to one of our experienced engineers.

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National Grid Warns Electricity to Be in Short Supply in the Next Few Days

For the second time in recent weeks, National Grid has warned that the nation’s electricity will be in short supply over the next few days. We look into the reasons why, what is being done about it and an example of a business we support, who are prepared for any energy shortfall.

What Are the Factors Causing the Shortfall?

National Grid took to Twitter to put out a warning that ‘unusually low wind output’, import and export levels and a number of generator outages has led to them operating with a reduced spare capacity.

Since the above tweets, National Grid has tweeted ‘that margins remain adequate today, and we’re continuing to monitor the situation for tomorrow and the weekend’. Keep updated with the latest from National Grid.

The current shortfall follows on from the mid-September warning where the official statement released by National Grid announced it’s ‘buffer’ of power reserves have dipped below 500MW, and that it potentially needed assistance from more power plants to prevent a blackout.

Dealing with Oversupply

The National Grid more often finds itself dealing with oversupply as opposed to shortfalls, which pose just as much of a problem, as it can threaten to overwhelm the grid when the demand for electricity is low.

Wind farms have been paid to switch off, EDF Energy was told to halve nuclear generation at one of their plants, and as demand fell by over a quarter during lockdown the National Grid spent £1bn on extra measures to prevent blackouts due to oversupply.

Although rare over the past few years, the recent increase in power related issues does raise the question for many UK business owners and organisations about the reliability of the National Grid, and what the options are to cover themselves in the event of a blackout.

Securing a Reliable Power Supply For Our Client Blue Frontier

Blue Frontier is one client who turned to Shenton Group seeking out a standby power system to make sure they are able to remain operational, even during a blackout. With the National Grid at risk from both short supply and oversupply, more and more organisations are futureproofing and looking to alternate and reliable power sources.

Following on from two power outages, Blue Frontier sought a solution so that staff could continue to work and the business could continue to charge their hourly rate for their services in IT support, web design and development and digital marketing, without issue. The cost of being without power for any business is huge, as is the reputational impact if services are not available to paying clients.

Power Continuity Solutions Delivered With Minimal Disruption

As is the goal for most Shenton Group clients, Blue Frontier wanted a cost effective solution that would have minimal disruption to the day-to-day running of the business. The technical experts from Shenton Group visited the Salisbury office to conduct an assessment and to figure out a bespoke solution to meet the exact requirements.

Shenton Group is a solution provider offering turnkey packages and complete support for their clients. In the instance of the Blue Frontier project, the infrastructure team arrived on site out of hours meaning no disruption to the daily operations. The team at Blue Frontier are now able to keep the lights on even when the mains supply is off, allowing them to continue to support their own clients.

Watch the video below to learn more about the project.

Ready to improve your power security? Speak to our power supply experts and find a solution that fits the requirements of your organisation.

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Importance of Regularly Load Bank Testing Diesel Generators

If you are reliant on a diesel generator as a source of backup power, it is essential to conduct regular load bank testing to make sure everything with the generator is in working order.

Having the correct, operational equipment available is often an afterthought until the moment it is required, but with regular diesel generator load testing it is possible to ensure you have a reliable power source in the event of an emergency.

Backup generators for the majority of the time sit dormant, waiting to spring into action when you lose mains power. As a generator sits there, parts naturally age and deposits build up. Just like a car, a generator needs to be started up once in a while to ensure it is in full working order and will offer you that protection when you need it most!

A load bank test simulates a power outage and ensures your backup generator will be reliable at full electrical load. Our skilled engineers test variable electrical demands, under controlled conditions allowing for accurate measuring and reporting. These tests help prolong the life of your generator and allow us to pick up developing issues for maintenance before they become a problem for you.

Load Bank Testing Diesel Generators

Load bank testing should form part of a maintenance programme for any organisation that uses a diesel generator for backup power. We recommend load bank testing at least once a year to ensure reliable performance during power outages.

diesel generator load bank

When running a load bank test, the electrical load is increased to full capacity, which allows the generator to really stretch its legs. All components of the diesel generator are tested when working to their optimal levels, including the cooling systems, which are the most common cause of diesel generator faults.

Aside from pushing the generator to the limit to see if it can handle the real world conditions encountered in an emergency, diesel generators further benefit as load testing removes any build-up of carbon deposits from pistons and exhaust systems. When diesel generators operate below a 30% load, the optimum operating temperature is not reached, which leads to a build up of carbon deposits. A load bank test will push the load to the maximum capacity essentially helping with the upkeep of the diesel generator.

At Shenton Group, our team conduct these detailed health checks as part of the load bank service, to establish if there are any developing faults and ensure that the diesel generator is able to sustain full load output in an emergency situation.

Diesel Generator Load Bank Testing Benefits

  • Detects any coolant problems
  • Checks radiator functionality
  • Identifies carbon deposit build up on key components
  • Benefit from a more reliable diesel generator for when there is a mains outage

Arranging a Load Bank Test

Unsure whether your generator will support your facility in a power outage? Give us a call!

Shenton Group provides nationwide coverage. We will send an engineer to inspect your site and run a load bank test. Not only will you receive detailed reports on the overall health of your asset, but you will also receive peace of mind and strengthen your power continuity plan.

If you haven’t been regularly load bank testing your generator, the likelihood is that you have an expensive asset sitting there wasting away.

We have a lot of people that call up explaining that they have had a generator on site for years, they are not sure if it works or the condition that it is in. If this sounds like you, we can help. All you need to do is pick up the phone.

Complete Load Bank Testing

Our load bank service is comprehensive and includes:

  • Access to Shenton Group’s expert & experienced engineers
  • Delivery of the rented load bank to the client site
  • Positioning of the load bank
  • Management of the logistics including road closures and crane movements
  • Complete testing of the diesel generator
  • Disconnection and removal of the load bank rental equipment
  • Reconnection to the normal load
  • Detailed load bank test report which can be shared with stakeholders as proof of testing

Book a Generator Load Bank Test

With teams located throughout the UK, we have engineers available to manage any load bank testing and deliver an excellent experience. Call Shenton Group to discuss your diesel generator requirements today.

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Can Businesses Rely on the National Grid to Deliver a Stable Electricity Supply?

Over a year has passed since we posted a news article on our blog following the UK’s most severe blackout in over a decade. Little did we know that just over 12 months later, vast numbers of us would be working from home due to a global pandemic. This in itself has changed the requirements of our power supplies, with many of us working from home and increasing our wifi/data consumption.

However, the National Grid claim their biggest challenge is balancing the supply with the actual demand dropping well below average levels.

Localised Power Cuts

Throughout the summer, locations up and down the country suffered from power outages leaving, residents and businesses in the dark. This has prompted more enquires about back up power solutions, to overcome the instability of the National Grid. Many businesses have already felt the strain with staff on furlough, reduced opening hours and fractured supply chains, and so could do without any additional power problems. 

A quick search on Google News highlights how common and widespread power cuts have become over the summer, affecting residential and commercial customers.

Norwich

Norwich experienced a power cutback in August where local people woke up to find they were without power as was reported in the Eastern Daily Press. The problem was traced back to be a fault with a piece of electrical equipment, with power restored at 9:30 am.

Andover & Whitchurch

The Basingstoke Gazette reported in June that hundreds of homes were left without power for over three hours, with rural villages and households across Whitchurch disconnected from the National Grid. An SSEN spokesperson said: “We’re sorry for the loss of supply. We currently have a fault. Our engineers are on site working hard to get the power back on as quickly as they can.’

Poole

Dorset Police actually benefitted from a power cut in Poole, where SSEN electricians visited a house when there was a power outage after network infrastructure had been interfered with and left damaged. The visiting electricians found cannabis plants and subsequently reported the find to the Police, as covered by the Bournemouth Echo.

Kettering

The whole town of Kettering suffered from a loss of power on September 24th with lights and TV’s off and the internet going down, leaving those working from home rather stuck.

These local examples are just a drop in the ocean when it comes to power failures as the National Grid continues to run into reliability issues. For people whose livelihood depends on the power being on, backup solutions are something to seriously consider.

We have a range of options for commercial premises to ensure day-to-day business can continue without disruption.

Coronavirus Impact on the Demand for Electricity

Millions of us now rely on electricity more than ever at home, but the National Grid state that we should not be concerned about the electricity supply, suggesting they have all the best procedures in place to manage the effects that the pandemic has had on the electricity supply.

Electricity demand is currently significantly lower than usual, due to a decrease in energy use from commercial and industrial consumers. However, managing a lower demand for electricity is just as difficult as it is to manage the peaks.

According to Current News ‘The pandemic has sent demand in the UK tumbling, with around a 20% drop from this time of year generally. This coupled with soaring renewables production has created challenges for National Grid to keep the grid balanced.’

Capacity Market Notices

Strangely enough, a demonstration of the strain of balancing the demand was the electricity capacity market notice issued on the 15th September.

Capacity Market Notices are an advance signal that there may be less generation available than National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) expects to need to meet national electricity demand. The notices flag that the risk of a ‘System Stress Event’ in the electricity network is higher than under normal circumstances.

The Capacity Market Notice instructs generators to be ready to meet the shortfall so that the Electricity System Operator are able to ‘keep the lights on for customers’. Given the notice came during a warm period of weather, it shows how fractious the system currently is.

For those feeling uncomfortable about the shifting demands, frequent outages and struggles with the grid, there are solutions to safeguard the power supply, such as backup generators, USPs and more solutions.

The UK’s ‘decaying electricity network’

National Grid CEO John Pettigrew has warned that Britain could be at risk of power blackouts ‘due to a decaying electricity network’ as cancelled projects mount up. One example reported in the Daily Mail was Sheffield, which relies on two power lines to power the whole city. The £40 million plan was denied by Ofgem, who told The Times newspaper that the National Grid had not demonstrated the need for a replacement.

With plans to spend £10 billion on UK networks now halved, many businesses and organisations need to take steps to protect their power continuity and futureproof their organisations from the issues facing the National Grid.

Staggering Social Media & Cryptocurrency Demands

The technology sector, including Social Media giants Facebook are some of the biggest users of electricity in the modern world.

According to Statista“Facebook’s electricity consumption has gradually increased over the last years, reaching 3.43 terawatt-hours in 2018. Facebook has set goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent in 2020.”

The amount of electricity used by Facebook when compared to Bitcoin is dwarfed. Bitcoin is estimated to use 61.76 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity per year, which is more than the entire country of Switzerland uses. With the computing power needed for mining Bitcoin, it is crucial to futureproof against the potential struggles of electricity generation.

The landscape is certainly shifting with other new technologies becoming more commonplace such as electric cars and cryptocurrencies as two examples.

To Conclude, How Resilient Is Your Business?

How prepared is your facility, business or organisation for a power outage? The UK is currently going through turbulent times, with workers in limbo between heading back to the office and staying at home, parents concerned about sending children back to school and the hospitality sector waiting for the green light to kick start again.

Power is not always a primary concern until a problem occurs and our reliance on it is plain to see. Our team of engineers and experts have continued to work throughout the pandemic supporting businesses and equipping clients with the correct equipment, ready for them to power on, even when the mains are off. Through the winter months, the demand for power surges and the weather changing for the worse, will only increase the strain on the National Grid even further. Now is the time to review your power continuity plans and get the safety net of backup power or an alternative power supply in place.

Speak to our team of technical experts today about your concerns and shore up your power supplies with Shenton Group.

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A Guide to Generator Hire

Companies often need to hire a generator to keep their business operational. The reasons for renting a generator are varied ranging from a scheduled shutdown, the aftermath of floods, fire and power outages to powering up equipment for a show or exhibition. When selecting a generator rental company, managers should investigate several issues including the generator company’s location, price and ability to provide the required equipment.

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Micro Combined Heat and Power Brings Cost and Carbon Savings

Across the UK many establishments have turned to Combined Heat and Power (CHP) to reduce the amount they pay out on heating and electricity, including Imperial College London, who have two combined heat and power systems. These Micro-CHPs have delivered the College significant cost reductions and decarbonisation benefits over the years.

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Latest News

Thursday, March 04, 2021
We are continuously looking for ways to improve our service to our clients, so this synergy couldn't have come at a better time to ramp up our Parts department!
Wednesday, March 03, 2021
A company is only ever as strong as its employees; a happy team equals happy clients. As you may know, we put a lot of work into creating an upbeat and safe environment that allows our employees to excel, promoting teamwork with a family feel.
Friday, February 26, 2021
We explore what low voltage switch gear is, the importance of regular servicing of equipment and the protection that LV switch gear offers.

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