Don’t Be Left in the Dark: The Impact of Blackouts to Your Bottom Line
Across Canada, small- and medium-sized businesses strive to do more with less to keep their customers happy and their businesses growing. Every second counts, and downtime is simply not an option. But many business owners may not fully appreciate just how vulnerable their most basic resource—electricity—is. Equipment failures, storms, hackers, even wayward birds and errant forklift operators can cause power disruptions that bring business to a halt. The online Blackout Tracker by Eaton Corporation, a diversified industrial manufacturer and recognized leader in power quality, distribution and control, illustrates just how often Canadians find themselves without electricity.
“For anyone who thinks they can get by without backup power, Eaton’s Blackout Tracker should serve as a wake-up call,” said Rob Woolner, managing director, Eaton Power Quality Company. “Nobody can predict where or when an outage is going to happen, but one thing we do know is that being without electricity is disruptive and costly to any size business.”
Eaton’s Blackout Tracker provides a snapshot of reported power outages across Canada and gives users basic information about the cause, duration and number of customer affected. The Blackout Tracker presents site visitors with a map of Canada and allows them to click on various regions to view reported power outages in that area. The Blackout Tracker also groups outages by their cause (animal, tree, weather, unknown, theft, faulty equipment, human error or auto accident), which allows site visitors to see which causes are most common in their area.
The True Cost of Interrupted Power
In the United States, power outages alone are documented to cost businesses more than $80 billion (U.S.) each year. Momentary interruptions (outages that last five minutes or less) account for two-thirds of that total. While the Blackout Tracker gives business owners a sobering look at how often utility power is interrupted, power outage is actually just one of nine common power problems that can impact power quality and availability. Other threats include power sags and surges, line noise and frequency variation.
For small- to medium-sized businesses, which rely on more expensive and sophisticated equipment than ever, the need to protect vital power supply is clear. Even a small server configuration and company Local Area Network (LAN) can cost tens of thousands of dollars. This is a significant investment to put at the mercy of a power supply that can be variable and unpredictable. In smaller organizations, where Information Technology (IT) equipment operates largely unattended, reliable power is indispensible.
“Even if a business’ equipment is insured, the revenue lost when they are unable to connect with customers, suppliers and business partners is significant,” said Woolner. “If business owners consider the number of transactions or processes handled per hour, and multiply that number by the value of each one, the true cost of a power disturbance emerges.”
Prepare and Protect
So why take a chance? With Eaton’s extensive offering of uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), any size business can protect itself from power problems. For those who need to protect personal and small office computers, a standby UPS, which runs off normal utility power until it detects a problem and switches to battery backup, will likely fulfill the need. The Eaton 3105 UPS and Eaton Nova UPS are examples of standby UPS options. The compact 3105 provides affordable protection for PCs, peripherals, POS equipment, fax machines and telephone equipment in small and home offices. Equipped with battery backup/surge protection outlets, it keeps essential systems up and running through power outages. The Nova provides cost-effective, rugged protection against electrical interference and power outages. Its automatic voltage regulation (AVR) accommodates a wide tolerance to fluctuations in the power supply and delivers ideal protection for one to three PCs, either in a business environment or at home.
Businesses seeking to protect critical enterprise devices, or those already protected by alternate routing, may find a line-interactive UPS to be the right choice. These devices regulate voltage up or down to smooth out irregularities in power and provide more protection than standby UPSs for data racks, communication systems and workstation groups. Eaton 5130 UPS provides line-interactive backup power and scalable runtimes for servers, storage systems, VoIP gear and network equipment.
When a business needs to protect mission critical equipment (such as essential application servers or communication networks) the only real choice is an online double-conversion UPS.These systems deliver the cleanest power by completely isolating equipment from raw utility power. The Eaton 9130 UPS delivers online power quality and scalable battery runtimes for servers, voice and data networks, storage systems and other IT equipment. With an efficiency rating of greater than 95 percent, the 9130 cuts energy costs while significantly extending battery service life with ABM technology.
Eaton’s electrical business is a global leader in electrical control, power distribution, uninterruptible power system and industrial automation products and services. Eaton’s global electrical product lines provide customer-driven power protection solutions for businesses of all sizes in all sectors. TechnoPlanet’s highly-trained staff members are experts in working with Canadian businesses to create the power protection solutions that fit their precise needs.
Visit Eaton’s Blackout Tracker on eChannelNews to see for yourself just how vulnerable your power supply may be, www.e-channelnews.com.