Protecting your Residents during a Power Cut
A look at modern Standby Power Solutions
You are the manager of a care home and it is a cold, Winter night. Suddenly the lights flicker and within seconds the whole building is plunged into darkness. Without mains power you have no lifts, no lights, no heating, no hot water, no kitchens, no kettles, no laundry…the list just goes on! More importantly your residents will be dark, cold, unsafe and confused.
Do you have any idea for how long?
Nowadays every organisation should have an effective power management strategy within their ‘business continuity and disaster recovery plan’ to protect against powercuts. On average we will experience around 20 power cuts each year and whether you are based in a city or rural location, powercuts are not selective about whom they affect or for how long.
According to Ofgem data the UK experiences around 24 million power cuts a year, many lasting several days regardless of location. With predictions of more extreme weather and a less secure mains power supply, the demand for standby power is set to grow at 7% per annum over the next 5 years. Finding and curing the problem is often a major challenge, which raises the question – can you afford to wait?
What do I Need?
When installing power protection, several factors need to be considered, namely demand, necessity, and budget. For instance if you manage an SME or larger sized company with a substantial computer network and/or critical operations that require instant power restoration i.e. hospitals, control rooms, data centres etc., you will need a UPS linked to a standby generator. However, if you manage a smaller sized company, with a limited budget, performing less-essential operations or a company operating multiple sites such as telecom masts, care homes, remote offices etc., the most cost effective option will be a UPS system together with a rental generator contract from Powercall.
Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
UPS offer relatively short run times and are designed principally to monitor and stabilise the incoming mains supply and provide instant battery backup power when the mains fails. This allows a controlled IT system shutdown and for an alternative power supply to be connected.
A static standby generator system operates via an electronic control panel that senses a loss of electricity supply and within seconds automatically starts the generator. Once the mains supply returns the control system monitors the supply for stability then automatically reconnects to the restored mains supply. Standby generators require a large capital expenditure and incur ongoing costs for maintenance and fuel etc. Often used in combination with a UPS, standby generators are essential for large companies with sophisticated IT systems or critical operations as they provide virtually immediate power supply restoration.
Emergency Callout Generators
For those companies that do not have the budget to buy a generator or have multiple sites where installing standby generators would be prohibitively expensive there is now another option. shentongroup’s Powercall service provide emergency callout generators, an effective, low cost solution and negate the need for large capital expenditure by providing a contract whereby a standby generator is supplied on an emergency callout basis. They are used for applications where prolonged powercuts would cause a problem and budgets are stretched.
How Does It Work?
Serviced by a 24/7-control room, a Powercall standby generator is despatched from a local depot when a generator request call is received from a subscribing site. Standard service levels include a target time of 1 hour and a guaranteed commitment to a maximum of three hours. Upon arrival the delivery engineer connects the generator to the pre-installed generator connection point and manual changeover system and advises the customer to switch over to the generator. Larger buildings can be supported through dedicated circuits in situations where the total building load requirement exceeds the generator’s capacity. A mains supply indicator lamp is fitted to the changeover switch to inform the customer when the mains power is restored.
Contract registration includes the supply and fitting of a suitable connection / changeover system. Subscribing sites then pay a monthly retainer fee which includes all callouts and collections. The only extra is the cost of the fuel used by the generator during the power cut.
“Doing Nothing is No Longer an Option”
Disaster recovery plans need to become a necessary and integral part of every business’s resilience and, regardless of size, it is essential to incorporate some form of power protection solution, as part of the business continuity plan – doing nothing is unacceptable in today’s overcrowded, competitive marketplace. The chosen solution is dependent upon individual requirements, budgets and circumstances. Whatever your situation or size, there is now a power support system available to ensure that all businesses can continue to operate when powercuts occur.
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