Keeping your world up and running.®

Your experiences with emergency power systems

Results of our survey

March 2014

We recently conducted an online survey to learn more about the importance of emergency and backup power to our customers. The short answer was: very. Eighty-nine percent of the respondents - mostly maintenance and process technicians, electrical contractors, in-house electricians, and facility managers - identified emergency and backup power as essential (60%) or important (29%).

The three largest industry sectors responding were industrial (37%), contractors (16%), and commercial (14%), followed by government (8%), utilities (6%), hospitals (5%), and data centers (4%). We even heard from a resort and a shopping mall.

Fluke 87V

Fluke 87V

Safety is a top concern

Many of the respondents cited safety as their top reason for having emergency backup systems. That was the case with the six hospitals that responded, all of which have emergency power systems consisting of redundant backup generators and UPS systems.

Safety came into play with many industrial operations as well. An electrician at a steel plant explained that his facility needs backup power to safely shut down systems when regular power can’t be restored immediately. Likewise, a technician from a nuclear power plant noted that backup power is vital to supporting emergency systems that need to continue if power fails.

Emergency backup power was also described as essential by an HVAC technician in the oil sands business. His company relies on backup power to provide essential services and possible lifesaving functions such as ventilation, lighting, sirens, and loud speakers in the event of a power outage. They use battery backup systems where a spark or flame is a threat and backup generators in other areas.

Critical for maintaining business and manufacturing processes

Other respondents described backup power as critical to maintaining business and manufacturing processes and avoiding financial losses. One maintenance technician at an industrial facility said that they use a Cummins diesel-powered backup system with 20-second delay spike protection during a power failure. Another manufacturer has a backup system in place to purge lines of product to keep it from solidifying in the pipes and causing costly repairs. A waste management facility maintains backup generators in the lift stations to keep the sewage pumps working if the power goes out, to avoid potential damage and liability from flooded basements down the line.

A maintenance manager for a bio-tech company explained that the organization’s significant investment in research and development could be compromised by a loss of power, so they have generators, UPS system, and batteries at the ready. At the other end of the spectrum, a facility manager at a luxury resort has twin 650kw generators and a UPS system for backup power because its remote location might delay restoration of power.

Staying prepared

Anyone in doubt about the importance of emergency backup power will be interested to know that 71% of those responding to the survey have had to use their backup power systems during power outages. Several also have used them during electrical infrastructure upgrades and facility maintenance.

Our thanks to all of you who took the survey and congratulations to the winner of the survey/prize drawing!