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The fact so many businesses and organisations are dependent on their power supply is nothing new. Ever since electricity was harnessed, we have been growing increasingly dependent on it with each passing decade.

Whether it’s food storage or medical equipment, a power outage can spell disaster for many businesses, and in some professions can even be life threatening. However, the technological age we now live in has increased our dependency on electricity by an incalculable amount.

power outageThe modern lifestyle includes being constantly connected for most people. As a generation of digital natives grow up and join the workforce, the convenience of digital is no longer a useful bolt-on to life, it’s a necessity. This shift in societal norm has heralded a mentality shift in nearly every business sector. After all, if consumers are constantly connected, your business must be available all the time if it is to remain successful.

Why a power outage is detrimental to business

Most retail transactions are no longer carried out in person. Professional businesspeople are transitioning more of their communication to digital. An increasing amount of software is based in the cloud, and the data businesses collect is more crucial than ever to their continued survival and growth. A report dating back to 2014, compiled by the Royal Academy of Engineering for the Council of Science and Technology, highlights how power outages cost SMEs billions of pounds a year, yet a surprisingly low number of companies that fall into this category take any precautionary measures to lower the risk of it happening to them.

Why power outages are dangerous to society

While businesses shouldn’t underestimate the impact an increasing number of power outages are going to have on their business, the chaos and problems they can cause to critical services like hospitals and airports can be more disastrous. The whole infrastructure of our country is reliant on electricity. Travel becomes chaotic without it, which can be disastrous for supply chains and workers that need to commute. Schools, dentists, libraries and many other facilities used by the public could all have to close their doors if there is a prolonged power outage.

Why it’s going to get worse

The energy infrastructure has not had a sufficient level of investment for some years. When you factor in the power stations that have also closed, then it becomes apparent our energy infrastructure is in need of investment and under more pressure than ever. The current spare capacity is at just 1.2%, the lowest it has been for ten years, which could well lead to more problems in the future.

All these ingredients combine to create a situation that can only get worse. This means power outages happening more frequently and for longer durations are the likeliest outcome.

What you can do to protect your business or organisation

Thankfully, there are more options than ever for organisations that need to protect themselves against the costly and potentially devastating power outages. Modern technology has made off-grid power generation more seamless, cost effective, and viable for smaller businesses than ever. Advances in hardware and software allows you to have a combination of systems that suits your unique needs.

The peace of mind provided by an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) is now a realistic option for everyone.

What are your options?

Using alternative sources to supply your energy can be a great way to ensure you’re not reliant on the national energy infrastructure. Solar power, wind turbines, and traditional generators have all come a long way. A UPS control system monitors energy production and voltages, ensuring a constant flow of energy is always seamlessly maintained. This process is known as Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR). It involves a powerful microprocessor that continually corrects all abnormalities in the energy supply to ensure it stays within pre-defined parameters. This is particularly useful for businesses that need increased protection for electrical equipment, such as data centres, that could be more vulnerable to blackouts, power surges, or even lightning strikes.

While these systems can be used with off-grid systems, they also work equally as effectively when employed as just a backup system.

Build flexibility into your system

Some of the systems are modular by design. This allows you to build upon your existing system as you grow, rather than having to pay for larger more capable systems. This can represent a considerable saving when the time comes. The savings continue if you also opt for alternative sources of power. The increasing cost of energy is making these other methods of generating electricity increasingly attractive to a wider audience of businesses and domestic customers.

Off-grid power has an image of unreliability and inconvenience. However historically correct this image may be, it’s an outdated stereotype that bears no resemblance to modern systems.


This article was written by Graham Chapman – Owner and managing director of Powerguard, a manufacturer and supplier or off-grid power systems and uninterruptable power supplies.