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The US experiences more power outages than any other developed country. Its aging electrical infrastructure, from power lines to facilities, is the primary cause of these outages. Unfortunately, frequent power problems create challenges for businesses and industries.
When a power outage occurs, it causes downtime that significantly affects operations. Some power shutdowns are planned and announced in advance, but they still result in monetary losses for some businesses. Learn more about what happens when a power outage occurs so you know how to protect your business from potential losses.
What You Lose in a Power Outage
A power outage can be caused by any number of reasons, such as natural calamities or equipment failure. Whatever the cause, it results in problems for your business, some of which might have long-term consequences.
Downtime from the outage may result in lower productivity for your employees. If you’re dependent on computers and other electronic devices, you may experience workflow interruptions or backlogs, causing you to miss deadlines. When power comes back, or when you try to do as much as you can before an announced outage, you will likely pay overtime to let employees stay beyond their shifts to complete high-priority tasks. It could eat up their off-hours, leading to burnout and low productivity.
Although some deadlines can be moved, there are deliverables that you can’t afford to reschedule. When you can’t deliver products or services on the agreed time, you risk losing hundreds to thousands of dollars in revenue. This scenario impacts your business’s reputation. Apart from revenue, you can lose customers if this keeps on happening, as they will eventually look for more reliable alternatives.
The digital revolution has pushed businesses to use different technologies in their operations, including cloud-based databases. As such, your business is at risk of losing valuable data when a power outage occurs. New data can be erased when employees fail to save them in time, and existing data can be corrupted when a power surge fries the equipment’s electrical infrastructure.
The power surge that follows an outage can damage your electronic devices and equipment. It can fry circuits and even start electrical fires in your workplace. It creates a domino effect, prompting you to spend more time and money on repairs and replacements, prolonging downtime.
Preventing these losses will require you to prepare for power outages. By learning more about them, you can determine the appropriate electrical solutions for your business. This will help you develop a contingency plan for keeping your operations running and your equipment safe in the event of an outage.
Types of Power Outages
A power outage is the loss of electrical power in a specific location. Its duration depends on the cause, and they can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days. The following are different types of power outages.
- A brownout occurs when there is a drop in voltage in a specific area’s electrical power supply. A voltage reduction is often carried out to reduce the load and prevent a bigger outage.
- A blackout occurs when there is a total loss of electrical power in a specific area. It happens when power stations trip, which is when there is a disconnection in their electrical power supply system.
- A transient fault happens when something compromises a power line’s performance. Most of the time, the culprit is either a severe storm or a bird or animal that came into contact with the lines.
A brownout and transient fault are minor and short, often lasting a few minutes to a couple of hours. A blackout, however, can be severe and extend for days. Preparing for all three will help you prevent or mitigate problems in your business operations.
Causes of Power Outages
Once you have a better understanding of the different power outages, it’s essential that you learn the reasons behind them, too. It will help you determine the solutions you need for your business.
Weather is one of the most common causes of power outages. According to recent data, the US suffers more than 140 weather-related blackouts a year. These are caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires throughout the country.
Birds and small animals can cause power outages when they land or walk along power lines. Squirrels, raccoons, and other rodents can damage electrical equipment when they camp out on these devices for warmth.
Old infrastructure is a major cause. With most of the country’s power lines being centuries old, they are at risk of getting damaged in harsh weather conditions. Even seasonal changes can affect their performance, with salt and dust accumulation hindering the equipment. It may also occur on a smaller scale, such as damaged electrical wiring or a compromised fuse box in your workplace.
Other causes include voltage spikes, such as the ones lightning storms bring, and vehicles colliding with an electrical pole or getting stuck in a power line.
Protect Your Business from Power Outages
Now that you have a better understanding of what causes power interruptions, you can develop the appropriate contingency plans.
- Utility service interruption coverage is an insurance policy that protects you from property damage and loss caused by utility failure. Ask your insurance provider how you can add this to your existing plan.
- Invest in an emergency power generator for your business. It gives you a backup power supply that will keep operations running even during a power outage. It’s a valuable machine for any area that experiences frequent power interruptions or extreme weather.
- Hire an electrical contractor to inspect, maintain, and repair your business’s electrical systems. This will address any potential issues in your power supply.
Pro Circuit, Inc. is a leading electrical contracting company. For over two decades, we have provided exceptional service to commercial and industrial businesses throughout Kansas. We understand the challenges you face in frequent power outages.
Get in touch with us and find out how we can help you address this problem. Call us at (816) 474-9292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.