By Mark Lum on
Power failures occur regularly and are not only inconvenient, but costly. Electricity problems, including outages and fluctuations, cause billions of dollars in losses across the US each year. In order to avoid financial consequences, businesses must maintain a steady supply of energy.
Power generators are commonly owned and used by both individuals and businesses that value a strong sense of security. However, many other people underappreciate the profound benefits of these products. Perhaps you are entertaining the idea of purchasing a backup generator, but you are concerned about its substantial cost. You understand the invaluable assistance that a generator would provide in the event of a power outage, yet you have reservations about spending a large amount of money on the “off chance” that disaster strikes. Such worries are the product of a common misconception: the idea that a generator is a luxury item. A generator should not be viewed as an indulgence nor as a financial risk, but, rather, as a wise investment and an effective insurance policy. A vast array of possibilities can cause electrical disturbances, which will almost always result in losses in productivity and revenue for businesses in the affected area. Simply having an electric generator on hand will enable one to avoid such losses. In fact, by creating these savings, the generator will pay for itself over time. It is quite possible that the losses avoided during a single outage could equal or exceed the original cost of your generator.
In contemporary society, electricity is a staple relied on nearly as much as water or gas. Electricity is depended upon in nearly every aspect of peoples’ lives, ensuring that our day to day routines run smoothly. Businesses, in particular, depend greatly on the availability of energy. The consequences of power loss are somewhat different for various types of businesses, but they are quite costly in every sector. The manufacturing industry may have the greatest dependence on power. In the event of an outage, manufacturing lines are likely to stop; such a stoppage would result in extravagant losses in production time, and could also cause expensive damages to material and machinery. Financial corporations also face immense losses due to outages. Loss of power could cause these companies to lose millions of dollars per minute, as they would be unable to trade stocks and assets with their computers rendered useless. On the subject of computers, consulting and IT services account for another business sector that is particularly susceptible to losses. These firms would lose countless billable hours and development time; potential losses of data and interrupted communications could lead to an abundance of time wasted for damage control with clients and systems. Data centers, entertainment venues, businesses relying on refrigeration, and control centers for transportation, utilities and telecommunication are other businesses that would suffer greatly from disruptions in power. Control center crashes would not only yield monetary losses, but could put millions of people in danger, because so many rely on those control services for everyday safety and convenience. Hospitals and nursing homes are other businesses in which many lives could be lost due to a single outage. In every case, modern businesses are bound to suffer financial losses and people will be endangered by electrical outages.
It is important to remember that these outages could occur due to many different factors. Storms are the most common culprit behind electrical disturbances, but there are many other dangers that are often taken for granted. Outages can also be caused by flooding, earthquakes, snow, ice, lightning, hail, wind or dust. Power losses can even be brought on by heat or cold, because increased usage of air conditioning or heaters within an area can overload the power grid. Beyond those natural causes, power can be interrupted due to traffic accidents, digging around underground wires, short circuits, scheduled utility maintenance, or simple human error.
Looking at all of the potential causes of power outages and the dire consequences that are likely to follow, you can see how important it is to maintain a steady supply of energy. The primary way to ensure this is by owning a generator. Businesses in remote locations such as mining outfits might use generators as a continuous power supply, but most businesses are interested in having a backup or standby generator on hand to supplement their electricity in case of emergencies. These generators are wired to the business’ main electrical panel via a transfer switch; so when a sudden drop or outage occurs in the main electrical supply, the electrical panel automatically switches over to the backup generator as its power source, ensuring that there is no loss of electricity. It is important to realize that this backup power supply is not only useful in cases of full-on outages, but it also protects against drops in power strength, otherwise known as brownouts. Depending on the type of equipment a business is using, brownouts can result in system failures and damages that are costly in much the same way as outage effects are.
You have many choices when shopping for a generator and you should make sure to purchase the product that best fits your needs. One important decision is whether to buy a diesel generator or a natural gas generator (the two most common types of industrial generators). Natural gas generators are relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain, and are easy to install; in addition they burn clean fuel, making them extremely environmentally friendly. The only risk is that you must rely on your area’s natural gas supply, which could be cut off during specific types of disasters. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, for instance, diesel might be a better option. Diesel generators still provide great value; they use half the amount of fuel and last much longer than standard gas generators. Also, diesel is safer, cheaper and easier to store than gasoline. Once you have decided upon the type of generator you would like to purchase, an electrician can calculate the exact amount of power that you will need to run your business. Now you can find a generator with the size and power that fits your needs precisely. Although generators become more expensive with greater size and power, you must be sure to purchase a generator that meets the minimal needs of your business, otherwise the supply of energy will not be sufficient enough to combat outages. New or used generators can cost several thousands of dollars, yet you can rest assured that your purchase will be worthwhile. You can calculate the approximate savings a power generator will provide by adding up the daily revenue of your business that is dependent upon electricity. Next, add in the price of potential losses of materials or perishable goods, plus the expected costs of start-up/shut-down and damage control time. Divide the purchase price of your generator by this amount; this will show you how many days without power it will take to make up for the price of the generator. Because of the incredible durability of most power generators, you are almost sure to see great returns on your investment during its lifetime.
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