Power outages significantly impact different businesses and industries, ranging in issues from damaged equipment and lost files to loss of power to life-saving medical equipment. Companies that are unprepared for a power outage can suffer from lengthy downtimes, which can impact revenue and cause disruptions to essential daily operations.
Government entities, hospitals, schools and other industries are uniquely affected during short- and long-term outages. Learn more below about how power outages impact each industry and what measures you can take to prevent the consequences of electrical outages, whether investing in alternative power supplies or finding emergency fuel services to keep your generators up and running.
Power Outage Effects on Data Centers
Data centers house various computer systems and other components, including storage systems and telecommunications. Data centers are vital to daily operations for many businesses, so numerous essential affairs are interrupted when the power goes out.
Power outages can cause damage to IT systems, resulting in lost data, corrupted files and broken equipment. Failing to prepare for or prevent these outages can result in essential business data being lost or corrupted and expensive repairs or replacements for valuable equipment. Current transactions could also be interrupted, causing disruptions to existing business operations.
Data centers can prepare by using backup generators and a reliable emergency fuel supply to prevent their systems from failing, limiting damages and the need for costly repairs.
Power Outage Effects on Healthcare
The healthcare system isn’t immune to large-scale power outages due to storms or other events. Loss of power to healthcare facilities poses several internal problems, including:
- Loss of heating and cooling systems
- Inability to sterilize equipment
- Failure of some medical devices or machines
- Loss of power to refrigeration and cooking equipment in cafeterias
- Loss of power to critical equipment
- Potential blackouts in rooms without access to emergency power
- Loss of access to other hospitals
- Loss of water pressure
- Inability for patients to signal nursing staff for assistance
When the power goes out at a hospital, doctors are unable to view X-rays, register new patients or transport supplies or patients when moving between floors as the elevators become non-operational. Patients relying on medical devices could also be temporarily left without care when healthcare professionals don’t implement proper plans to handle these outages.
Those in the healthcare industry must prepare their systems during an outage to prevent the loss of critical, life-saving medical equipment and machinery. Preparation can include investing in backup power systems and alternative electricity sources to prepare for an outage.
Power Outage Effects on Financial Industries
Power failure can cause chaos since financial institutions may become incapable of rendering various transactions promptly. Millions of dollars can be unrecoverable during these outages, and once the power is restored, it can take several valuable hours for recovery.
Many banks use diesel generators to power different operations, especially during outages where electrical power is unavailable. The problem is the rising cost of diesel, which increases operating costs for banks. Budgeting for emergency fuel costs is essential to ensure you can remain operational during hours that suit customer needs, preventing the loss of crucial revenue.
Power Outage Effects on Schools and Universities
Educational institutions are also significantly impacted during power outages, causing numerous problems for staff, administrators and students. Schools and universities are relying on electricity now more than ever, so they lose access to vital educational tools when the power goes out.
Some main reasons for power outages at schools include natural weather events, such as hurricanes, heat waves and severe thunderstorms. Older schools with outdated infrastructure using an overtaxed power grid are also susceptible to common blackouts.
When the power goes out, educational institutions lose power to educational tools and essential operations, such as heating and cooling systems, elevators and refrigerators. A school or college that loses power can experience problematic downtime, which could result in:
- One or more days of missed instruction
- Loss of critical IT functions
- Data loss or hardware damage
- Impacted student safety
- Loss of valuable research information
- Damage to different equipment or machinery
There’s a lot at stake when a school or university loses power, so it’s essential to have a backup plan to limit losses and downtime during an outage. With an increasing number of electronic devices used in school, there’s a high need for comprehensive backup power and generators. Choosing the right backup power option for the size and needs of your institution can help prevent the loss of essential data, reduces missed instruction and ensures student and staff safety.
Power Outage Effects on Government, Military and Government Contractors
The federal government and many military installations are often entirely dependent on the commercial power grid, which can create challenges when the power goes out. Critical defense missions are also at risk for extended outages, which could make the country vulnerable during a crisis. Running solely off the electrical grid is risky for government entities as a few trained bad actors could collapse the grid if they know where the key lines and nodes are located.
Government entities have taken steps to remedy this problem by installing backup generators onsite, allowing operations to continue during an outage. However, many of these locations only have enough fuel to run off generators for a few days. Government institutions must be prepared during long-term outages for the safety and security of the people. Preparation includes having a stable, reliable fuel supply to get through extended outages.
As more people realize the risk of having the government and military run off the commercial power grid, experts are proposing different solutions, such as using “microgrids” that run independently from the commercial grid. However, waiting for an answer can put the safety of our citizens at risk, so it’s essential to have a backup plan until we reach a solution. Part of the plan should include having enough emergency fuel to power generators when outages occur, whether they last for a few days or months.
Power Outage Effects on Construction
Staying efficient at a construction site helps contractors remain within their budget and meet schedule deadlines. When the power goes out, it can halt many projects on the job site. Contractors must plan for an outage to prevent costly downtimes.
Contractors should also create a detailed plan for every instance. For example, construction workers may work inside a building, such as a hotel or an office, and accidentally cut the power lines. The power outage affects the construction workers in addition to whoever is staying or working in the building, whether they’re guests or business professionals.
Contractors can adequately prepare for the required amount of backup power by making a detailed plan, which should include specific information about:
- Project size
- Client needs
- Frequency of use for portable generators
- Precise load information for equipment
- Backup strategies for power outages
It’s also essential for contractors to maintain their backup power generators and fuel supply to ensure they’re reliable year-round. You never know when a power outage will strike, so daily checks of the fuel, oil and coolant levels alongside annual maintenance can keep your generators operational for all your power needs.
Power Outage Effects on Media Communications
Media services require a constant, reliable supply of electricity. Many rely on broadcasting services for daily news, entertainment and other essential communications. When the power goes out, people don’t have access to these services, creating distrust among the audience of these services. Outages can impact engagement, damage essential equipment and increase restart costs.
You can help prevent the challenges associated with power outages in media communications by:
- Investing in an alternate power source, such as solar, an inverter or backup generators
- Performing regular maintenance on your alternative power source
- Creating an adequate budget for electricity supply
- Settling electricity bills to ensure utility companies can deliver the best services
When the power goes out and you use backup generators, you must have enough fuel to power these generators for as long as you need. Proper planning ensures media communication services don’t go down for extended periods, impacting your overall business operations.
Power Outage Effects on Property Management
Professionals in property management have more to deal with than just a personal annoyance or inconvenience when the power supply goes out. Power outages can cause safety issues for tenants, meaning property managers must take the necessary precautions to keep people safe within their properties.
A power outage can become dangerous because it can cut the power supply from life-saving equipment. For example, fire alarms or security measures that rely on electricity won’t work during an outage, failing to alert individuals if a dangerous event occurs. Residents may rely on electricity to power medical devices to help them breathe, such as CPAP machines.
Extreme temperatures can even pose risks to tenants when the power goes out. Excessive heat can cause hyperthermia, leading to heat stroke or other heat-related conditions. Extreme cold can also cause hypothermia, causing conditions like frostbite. Children and older adults are more susceptible to these conditions.
Property managers must take the necessary steps to protect their tenants during an outage. Many variables can cause outages, such as severe weather, overgrown trees and equipment failure. Property managers can help prevent outages by:
- Investing in reliable backup power
- Trimming branches and keeping an eye on tree growth
- Powering off electrical items to reduce the load on the electrical system
- Conducting regular inspections on electrical wiring, boxes and connection points
- Performing maintenance on electrical systems and machinery
If you experience an outage, you can place backup generators outside to power essential machinery and devices while preventing the buildup of fumes indoors. You should inform tenants of outage procedures and what they can do during an outage. For example, property managers should warn tenants not to use gas stoves to heat their units and remind them to keep their refrigerators closed to retain the cold.
Power Outage Effects on Retail Wholesale
Manufacturing and retail facilities can experience costly downtime when the power goes out, hurting revenue and slowing production and sales. When the power goes out, large retail wholesale companies can lose thousands of dollars when production halts and products become damaged, requiring extra work to make up for losses.
The retail wholesale industry has to take the proper steps to prevent outages from impacting their sales and business operations. One of the main ways the retail industry can prepare is by utilizing backup generators with plenty of fuel to power essential systems until the electrical grid is restored. To have plenty of fuel for your generators, you should sign up for emergency fueling services to have fuel delivered to you during an outage.
How to Prevent the Negative Consequences of a Power Outage
While it may be impossible to prevent an outage due to weather events or electrical grid overloads, there are ways you can avoid the negative consequences of a power outage, including:
- Creating a continuity plan: A continuity plan helps industries determine how they can continue to offer services to their consumer bases when the power goes out. A plan reduces losses and helps protect your assets, allowing you to function throughout an outage. Your continuity plan should also be tested and practiced to ensure it works during an emergency event.
- Train employees in emergency response: You can use drills to train and test your employees to ensure they’re prepared for an emergency outage. Preparing your employees will help you quickly recover from an outage, limiting your losses and allowing you to continue your operations as soon as possible.
- Utilize backup generators: Backup generators can supply your business or corporation with enough power to function while the electrical grid comes back online. You can choose from portable or standby generators, depending on your needs.
- Sustain your emergency fuel supply: If you’re using backup generators, you want to ensure you can sustain your fuel supply to ensure you don’t run out in the middle of an outage. You’ll also want to test your fuel to keep it high-quality, preventing it from damaging your generators. You can get emergency fuel deliveries to ensure you always have enough fuel when you need it.
- Install a UPS device: An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) device can help prevent equipment from becoming damaged and data from being lost by sustaining a temporary power supply so these devices can be turned off correctly.
Taking steps to prepare your industry from the damages of a power outage can help you sustain your revenue, keep up with production and demand, limit damaged equipment and more.
Prevent Power Outages With Emergency Fuel From Foster Fuels Mission Critical
When the power goes out, you want to do everything you can to ensure reliable backup power and fuel supplies to sustain your business’s operations until the electrical grid comes back online. The Foster Fuels Mission Critical Division has you covered when you need emergency fuel services. We’re here to deliver emergency fuel any day of the week at any time of the day, even during the holidays.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you when a power outage occurs!