Electricity is something that, most of the time, people don’t think about. We automatically assume that power will be available when we need it. But if you are a business owner or someone tasked with assuring your business is operational at all times, you should have a backup plan. The reality is that most businesses require electricity to operate. Without it, operations can be severely disabled or completely come to a halt. So, should you get an emergency generator for your business? To begin answering this question, you might also consider: what would the cost of a prolonged power failure be for your business?
There are some operations that mandate, sometimes by law, to have an onsite emergency power backup system. This includes hospitals, data centers, emergency response facilities, and others. But does a back-up power system make sense for your business? Let’s take a look at some typical scenarios on how your business can be affected by a loss of power.
First, a loss of electricity for a retail business would likely require it to close. Safety and security issues can put customers in danger, or it can make goods less secure because the security measures installed at the location become non-operational. This combined with the inability to process transactions will likely result in a significant amount of lost revenue.
In an office environment, the loss of lighting and temperature control can make a work-space unfit for employees. Additionally, staff members can lose all productivity. Managers are left with a decision to try and wait out the power failure or send people home. If a decision is made to send people home and the power returns quickly, productivity is lost based on an uninformed decision.
Life safety can also be an issue. Those on life support depend on electricity, and emergency management relies on communications and computers to be able to perform effectively.
Critical manufacturing processes, food storage, greenhouses, critical data applications or any other vital business processes can be negatively affected by an extended power failure.
An emergency generator system could help solve many of the issues described above, however, installing a backup power system can require a significant investment, and ongoing maintenance must also be considered. There is a balance on when it may make sense to install an emergency generator system, and the best way to determine this is to perform a cost analysis.
A cost analysis should take into consideration, including several factors:
- What is the historical or expected frequency of power failures?
- What is the typical duration of a power failure?
- How disruptive to your business is a loss of power?
- What are the direct costs associated with loss of productivity, loss of critical processes, or goods?
- Is safety an issue?
- What is the short or long term cost to customer goodwill?
- Will revenue and thus profits be severely affected?
- What is the cost to obtain, install and maintain an emergency generator system?
- What would be an acceptable payback time-frame for making the investment?
Once the above questions are taken into consideration, a risk-reward analysis can be taken. Decision makers then have the ability to make an informed decision on whether installing an emergency generator would be an appropriate solution.