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News

Don't be complacent over weather-related power problems

Eaton Electric : 13 October, 2012  (Special Report)
According to Eaton’s Power Quality business, many businesses believe that at this time of year when the summer thunderstorm season has passed, there is no longer any need for concern about the risk of power blackouts. Nothing could be further from the truth, says the company, which has carried out research that shows blackouts are at least as likely to occur in the winter months as in the summer months.
Don\'t be complacent over weather-related power problems

Eaton reports that the dominant causes of power blackouts in the winter months are different from those associated with the summer period, but that this does not translate into a reduction in the prevalence of blackouts. As would be expected, the level of lightning strikes is reduced in winter, but other weather-related risk factors, such as damage to overhead power lines by gales and by excessive loading with ice and snow, increase.

Because of this, the company concludes that power blackouts should be a year-round concern for all businesses, especially as its research shows that over 33% of businesses take more than a day to recover from a power outage and suffer financial losses of ranging from around £12,000 to in excess of £300,000. The research also revealed that 90% of companies that experience a major IT failure and don’t have a survival plan in place go out of business within 18 months.

Fortunately, it is neither difficult nor expensive for businesses to put in place measures that will protect them against the potential impact of power blackouts. The key element of the solution is to install an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system.

Provided this is correctly specified, it will ensure continuity of power supply to critical loads during short to medium-term power outages, and allow the loads to be shut down in a controlled way in the event of a longer power outage. The best UPS systems also offer comprehensive protection against power line surges, which often occur in thunderstorms even when the supply does not fail completely. These systems are, therefore, capable of offering effective protection whatever the season and whatever the weather.

Full details of this research, which also includes a region-by-region analysis of blackouts in the UK during 2011, is available at: www.eaton.com/blackoutUK.

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