Hurricane Sandy Shows Why Businesses Need Reliable Backup Power
Business should consider the cost of spoilage for products that need refrigeration and the loss of other products that can’t be sold and compare that with the value of being able to sell the products while earning significant good will from being a critical resource to the community, Gagnon said. He also acknowledged that while many businesses have insurance to cover loss of products and operations, insurance costs are usually reduced substantially when the insurance company knows that you have emergency power and won’t immediately sustain inventory loses because of a loss of power. But there’s more to it than that, Gagnon explained. “What kind of business are you perceived as, when you’re the guy providing your services in your community? Like the guys in Jersey that have gas available today,” he said. Problem is, you don’t just go to the store and buy a generator and hope that will help you keep your business running. As is the case with everything else, you have to buy the right generator that’s the right size for your business. “The first thing you have to understand is what your essential needs are,” said Craig Staples, president of Staples Electric in Fairfax, Va. Staples is heavily involved in helping plan emergency generator implementations. “You may have to use it only once or twice a year, but you have to keep up with your future needs.”“You have to go through a mock scenario,” Staples said, noting that there is an alternate. “If you just went through an experience recently, you may have found what your essentials are. Otherwise you have to go through a mock-up. You include computers, lighting, servers, etc. Everything you really need, plus room to grow.” The next step Staples suggests is to write it all down and let the electrician and engineer compute the load factors. Gagnon agrees. “The best advice is to make sure they understand what their business power requirements are,” he said. “Get a local dealer and do an evaluation to decide what they keep running.” “You need a profile of the business,” said Paul Bowers, Generac’s vice president of sales for the industrial power business. “What do you want to back up? Does it need to be the entire business and full operation or just critical loads? Sizing becomes very important.” Dolan said that deciding what’s critical depends on the business and that it takes someone who is a licensed professional to size the system accurately. On the plus side, he noted that the result should be a backup power system that’s properly sized and doesn’t waste money. Dolan also noted that it doesn’t take a hurricane to need backup power. “Power outages happen every day,” he said
Staples suggests making a bare-bones wish list of the things that are absolutely essential to keep your business in operation. Then, make a list of things that would be nice to have, but that aren’t essential. He said that you can add things until you reach a load threshold where you need a bigger, more expensive generator.