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Happy New Year from South Shore Generator

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Happy New Year from South Shore Generator

Happy New Year from South Shore Generator. We would like to thank our customers, friends, family, and community for allowing our business to be part of your lives in 2017. We wish all of you a wonderful and prosperous 2018!

If we have had the pleasure of being your choice in power, we hope that we provided the highest level of customer service, equipment care, and met all of your needs. In the coming months if you find yourself in need of the services we offer, we hope you choose us again in 2018.

It is our sincere wish that in the New Year you are surrounded by warmth, family, and friendship and that 2018 brings you good health and prosperity. From all of us here at South Shore Generator we hope you have a safe and exciting New Year.

“We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday – the longer, the better…” ~ Charles Dickens

Winter Generator Usage: Home and Business Owners Need to Keep Safety in Mind

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 18, 2017
South Shore Generator Generac 6237 portable generator

Generators are critical during severe weather events, when the power can go out, as well as bringing power to remote job sites and in disaster recovery and emergencies. As we move into the upcoming "snow season", a time when electricity can go out due to snow and ice, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) reminds home and business owners to keep safety in mind when using generators.

Not having power when you need it is frustrating, so a generator can provide emergency backup power at a reasonable cost. But, it’s important to follow all manufacturers’ instructions when using one. For instance, never place a generator in your garage or in your home. The generator should be a safe distance from your home and not near an air intake.

More tips include:

Take stock of your generator. Make sure equipment is in good working order before you start using it.

Follow all manufacturers’ instructions. Review the owner's manuals for your equipment if possible (you can look manuals up online if you cannot find them) so you can operate your equipment safely.

Have the right fuel on hand. Use the type of fuel recommended by your generator manufacturer. It is illegal to use any fuel with more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment (for more information on proper fueling for outdoor power equipment visit www.LookBeforeYouPump.com). If you are using fuel that has been sitting in a gas can for more than 30 days and you cannot get fresh fuel, add fuel stabilizer to it. Store gas only in an approved container and away from heat sources.

Ensure portable generators have plenty of ventilation. Generators should NEVER be used in an enclosed area or placed inside a home or garage, even if the windows or doors are open. Place the generator outside and away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

Keep the generator dry. Do not use it in wet conditions. You can cover and vent your generator. You can buy model-specific tents online or generator covers at home centers and hardware stores.

Only add fuel to a cool generator. Before refueling, turn the generator off and let it cool down.

Plug in safely. If you don't yet have a transfer switch, you can use the outlets on the generator. It's best to plug in appliances directly to the generator. If you must use an extension cord, it should be heavy-duty and designed for outdoor use. It should be rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. Make sure the cord is free of cuts. The plug should have all three prongs.

Install a transfer switch. A transfer switch connects the generator to your circuit panel and lets you power hardwired appliances. Most transfer switches also help you avoid overload by displaying wattage usage levels.

Do not use the generator to "backfeed" power into your home electrical system. Trying to power your home's electrical wiring by "backfeeding" – where you plug the generator into a wall outlet – is reckless and dangerous. You could hurt utility workers and neighbors served by the same transformer. Backfeeding bypasses built-in circuit protection devices, so you could damage your electronics or start an electrical fire.

Install a battery operated carbon monoxide detector in your home or business. This alarm will sound if any carbon monoxide comes into the building and alert you.

For more information on industrial or residential generators, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham.

Source: markets.businessinsider.com

Industrial Generators: Purchase and Installation

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 11, 2017
South Shore Generator - Industrial Generators in Wareham, MA

IBHS recommends retaining an expert with extensive experience with all types of generators to assist with choosing the design and installation of the right generator; specific attention should be paid to the applications required to meet your business needs.

IBHS offers the following guidelines to help you with this process:

Use local contractors, and ask for recommendations and references. Consult with several contractors in-person prior to making a decision.

Make sure the chosen expert helps select the right size generator for your needs. This will include a determination of wattage needs (constant and start-up) and voltage ratings. You also should make sure that whatever generator is chosen is rated to provide power at a frequency of 60 hertz.

Obtain all estimates in writing; including specifics about the work to be performed and the contractor’s license information.

Ask for proof of insurance, for both the manufacturer of the generator and the contractor, as well as a written warranty from the manufacturer and a guarantee from the contractor.

Include the manufacturer and the contractor on the suppliers/vendor forms in your Open for Business® or other business continuity plan.

There may be local codes that require permits and inspections of plans and installation practices. Additionally, any generator transfer switch should be installed by a licensed electrician in order to comply with the National Electrical Code (NEC) as outlined in the National Fire Protection Association Publication No. 72. Some states also have safety regulations designed to prevent “back feed” (see below).

Be sure the contractor walks you through the operations and maintenance processes of the generator. You should also be given all of the operational manuals provided by the manufacturer for reference.

Testing, maintenance and operations

Most emergency generator failures are typically caused by poor testing and maintenance practices. Testing of permanently installed generators should include simulating a real power failure. This practice will test the transfer switch’s function and the generator at the same time.

Please note: Only running the generator will not test the transfer switch’s function, which is a critical element to proper operation during power outage.

Regularly scheduled testing and maintenance of emergency generator equipment is essential to ensure peak performance when you need it most. Maintenance contracts with third parties are a good way to make sure your system achieves prime performance.

Generators — portable or permanently installed — require the use of fuel. Diesel fuel is more prone to oxidation than gasoline, and should never be stored for longer than 12 months. If there are plans to store fuel, a fuel stabilizer should be added.

Many generators use fuel filters to prevent impurities from clogging the fuel lines. Fuel filters should be maintained in accordance with the equipment manufacturers’ recommendations to prevent this problem.

Proper coolant level is critical to the operation of a generator. Check coolant levels prior to start up and monthly for maintenance.

Like any engine, a generator uses oil. Use the right type of oil, maintain the proper oil level and change the oil when it appears dirty.

Check that all air vents or louvers are in good condition, free of dirt and debris, and, if required, that they move freely during operation.

Visually inspect the condition of all hoses, gaskets and gauges to ensure these are free of cracks and operational without leaks.

At start up, check that operating pressures and temperatures are stable and within the manufacturers design parameters.

Also, when the engine is running, check for unusual engine noise and knocking. If there are any unusual sounds, turn the generator off and have it inspected by a professional.

Maintain a log of all test operations and record all readings.

In the event of an impending storm that could result in power outages, test the generator system and top off all liquids at the conclusion of the test.

Do not tamper with safety devices or attempt to repair the generator unless you are a qualified service person.

The total electrical load on your generator should never exceed the manufacturer’s rating.

For more information, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Source: disastersafety.org

Facts about Portable Generators and Permanent Generators

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 04, 2017
South Shore Generator Generac 6237 portable generator

Portable generators are less expensive to purchase and install than permanent (standby) generators. Without a supplemental fuel supply, they have a relatively short run-time and may need to be refueled several times a day during a prolonged power outage.

Most portable generators are designed to work with a few appliances or pieces of electrical equipment that may be plugged directly into the generator without the use of a generator transfer switch.

The above portable generator can be used for small businesses, or in remote locations.

Who should choose this type of generator?

This type of generator be could especially useful for small to mid-sized businesses or in remote locations, but it isn’t recommended if you are operating sensitive equipment or have numerous large appliances or business machines.

It is critical to determine ahead of time what electrical items will be needed during a power outage in order to choose the properly sized generator, and to determine how each item will be connected to the generator.

Is a portable generator right for your business?

Referring to the critical business functions identified in your business continuity plan, and the electrical equipment upon which they depend, will help you decide if a portable generator is sufficient.

Generator Safety

It is very important not to overload a generator. Generator operating manuals typically provide guidelines on power consumption of appliances such as refrigerators, fans, televisions, window mounted air conditioners, etc. but not large commercial equipment.

A business owner may contact a certified electrician to conduct an electrical load analysis of his building and equipment to determine the power consumption of the entire building and individual electrical equipment.

When using a portable generator, you also will have to purchase an electric power cord to feed the electrical equipment. This should be a heavy duty outdoor-rated extension cord sized for the total electrical load (voltage and amps) you may need.

Choose a cord that exceeds the total expected load in order to prevent excessive heat buildup and degradation of the power cord. An overloaded power cord can potentially start a fire.

Ensure that the cord has three prongs and has no splits, cuts or holes in the external insulation covering.

For businesses with multiple locations it may be too expensive to provide generators at each location, so another option may be a rental or lease agreement to have a generator be delivered prior to or immediately after a storm.

Facts about Permanent Generators

A permanent generator is typically wired into your building’s electrical system through a generator transfer switch.

When these switches sense a power outage they will isolate your “emergency” electrical wiring, providing power to the selected equipment from the normal power source, then start to transfer the “emergency” load to the generator.

When the power is restored, the switch also will connect “emergency” circuits back to the utility lines and turn off the generator.

In addition to the convenience of automatic switching, permanent generators offer higher power levels compared to portable units and longer run times.

A permanent generator should be compatible with the fuels available in your area — most models operate with natural gas, propane, or on a bi-fuel basis.

For more information, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Source: disastersafety.org

Industrial Generators for Business Preparedness Planning

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 27, 2017
South Shore Generator - Generac MPS

Generators are an integral part of the preparedness planning process for businesses of every size and can greatly reduce business disruption when normal power is interrupted.

Power outages resulting from unpredictable weather, man-made or natural disasters, or site-specific events can disrupt your business operations. Below is segments of a comprehensive disaster planning tool to assist you in reducing the potential for loss and recovering quickly should a disaster strike, no matter what the cause. One important consideration as you develop your business continuity plan is the purchase, operation and maintenance of a generator. This fall-back tool enables you to continue operating some or all of your electronic equipment and lights and minimize business interruptions. This article will provide basic information about generators; however it is not intended to be a comprehensive guide for using generators. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions for complete information. Generators are an integral part of the preparedness planning process for businesses of every size and can greatly reduce business disruption when normal power is interrupted. At the same time, using a generator poses certain risks that must be addressed for safe operation, including fire, damage to electrical equipment, and even injury or death to those operating the generator or working in the building where it is being used. Proper ventilation is a critical element for reducing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator’s engine exhaust.

In addition to safety concerns, proper maintenance is critical to avoid the failure of a generator when it’s needed most. The time to maintain a generator is well before a major storm or disaster strikes; when professional assistance may be unavailable, power lines are down, and access roads are blocked. To gain the greatest business continuity benefits, while minimizing associated risks, it’s important to purchase a generator that is properly designed and sized for your business needs. Once purchased and properly installed, put procedures in place to ensure regular maintenance and that all safe operating practices are followed. Business and building owners should always operate and maintain generators in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations.

Choosing a generator and related supplies

Before purchasing an electrical power generator, consider what electrical equipment that must be operable when normal power is interrupted. Other considerations include:

  • How often does the business lose power and for how long?
  • What are the most likely sources of power outages?

OFB-EZ will help you to identify the events that could interrupt business operations. These factors will help to determine the size and type of generator to buy.

One threshold question facing the business owner is whether to purchase a portable or back-up generator, or to choose a permanent or stand-by generator. A portable generator is a relatively small machine, which is usually rated no higher than 15 kilowatts and 240 volts, and is intended to be moved and activated for temporary use at a location where utility-supplied electric power is not available. A standby generator, in contrast, is a back-up electrical system that is permanently installed and may operate automatically through the use of a transfer switch, which senses a power loss, commands the generator to start, and then transfers the selected electrical load to the generator.

In the next post we’ll discuss portable and permanent industrial generators. For more information, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Source: disastersafety.org

Standby or Backup Power Solutions For Data Centers or Mission Critical Facilities

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 13, 2017
South Shore Generators - Generac Natural Gas Generators

The standard backup solutions include standby generators and UPS systems. IT is critical to ensure that the standby generators are not overloaded under all failure conditions. Additionally, the generator must perform properly under all failure modes harmonic distortions. The engineer must specify a generator with the appropriate level of subtransient reactance. Also, it is a good idea to specify a generator that is “mission critical” rated for a load factor of 85%.

Time-tested, tried, and proven systems: standby diesel generators with closed-transition bypass isolation switches and static double-conversion on-line UPS with batteries. Paralleling gear is necessary when capacity or redundancy requires it, but I avoid generator paralleling gear unless necessary for capacity. It has become a single point of failure on some projects.

In large mission critical facilities, a current trend among engineers is to specify medium-voltage generators because it is possible to obtain utility service at 15,000 V or higher—a significant benefit over the conventional 480- or 600-V systems. This has required larger but fewer feeders—therefore, less copper—with an associated cost savings. This is a successful, robust power strategy, but we have had to manage the increased risk of arc flash events and other medium-voltage safety practices and equipment to satisfy medium-voltage electrical commissioning and testing—often at full load.

For more information on generators for data centers or mission critical facilities, contact South Shore Generator.

Source: generac.com

Common Data Center Surprises

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 06, 2017
South Shore Generators - Generac Natural Gas Generators

Appropriate technologies and best practice tips can help data center managers and consulting-specifying engineers prepare for the unexpected.

Below is a list of 10 common surprises for data center managers and tips on how to be prepared for them. The list includes information on a surprising cause of data center downtime, what data center managers and engineers might not know about that next server refresh, and the growing trend sneaking up on virtually every data center.

When you are a data center manager or consulting-specifying engineer, very few things are more unsettling than the unexpected. We hope this list helps IT and engineering professionals better anticipate these issues and prepares them with the appropriate technologies, solutions, and best practices.

Common data center surprises include the following:

  1. Those high-density predictions finally are coming true: After rapid growth early in the century, projections of double-digit rack densities have been slow to come to fruition. Average densities hovered between 6.0 and 7.4 kW per rack from 2006 to 2009, but the most recent Data Center Users’ Group (DCUG) survey predicted average rack densities will reach 12.0 kW within three years. That puts a premium on adequate UPS capacity and power distribution as well as cooling to handle the corresponding heat output.
  2. Data center managers will replace servers three times before they replace UPS or cooling systems: Server refreshes happen approximately every three years. Cooling and UPS systems are expected to last much longer—sometimes decades. That means the infrastructure that organizations invest in today must be able to support—or, more accurately, scale to support—servers that may be two, three, or even four generations removed from today’s models. Today’s data center manager must ensure that infrastructure technologies have the ability to scale to support future needs. Modular solutions can scale to meet both short- and long-term requirements. Engineers will need to consider and make the necessary adjustments and allocations regarding day-to-day servicing and maintenance of the longer lasting power and cooling equipment.
  3. Downtime is expensive: Everyone understands downtime is bad, but the actual costs associated with an unplanned outage are stunning. An outage can cost an organization an average of about $5,000 per minute. That’s $300,000 in just one hour. The same study indicates the most common causes of downtime are UPS battery failure and exceeding UPS capacity. Avoid those problems by investing in the right UPS—adequately sized to support the load—and proactively monitoring and maintaining batteries. This gives engineers an opportunity to share best practices with clients and recommend battery monitoring solutions and high-end availability architecture. They can use the cost of downtime information to support recommendations and ensure clients understand how they can implement design changes and modifications that will improve availability.
  4. Energy rebates are available for energy efficiency upgrades: Many utility providers offer energy rebates and incentives for data centers that make energy efficiency improvements. This presents an opportunity for engineers to propose high-efficiency designs and help clients receive reimbursements for upgrading legacy equipment with high-efficiency power and cooling systems. Clients may also look to engineers to assist with the often lengthy application process. Once the reimbursement has been approved, utilities will request information on actual project costs and may require follow-up measurement and verification to determine actual energy savings.
  5. Industry codes are playing a larger role in cooling strategy: In the 2010 edition of ASHRAE 90.1: Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, the SCOP (seasonal coefficient of performance) rating was expanded to include data centers. Codes such as this, which focus on energy efficiency, are becoming more numerous and impacting data center cooling strategies and technology developments. It is important that engineers keep abreast of new codes and regulations and the latest technologies that enable compliance.
  6. Monitoring is a mess: IT managers have more visibility into their data centers than ever before, but accessing and making sense of the data that comes with that visibility can be a daunting task. According to an Emerson Network Power survey of data center professionals, data center managers’ use, on average, at least four different software platforms to manage their physical infrastructure. Of those surveyed, 41% say they produce three or more reports for their supervisors every month, and 34% say it takes three hours or more to prepare those reports. The solution? Move toward a single monitoring and management platform that can consolidate that information and proactively manage the infrastructure to improve energy and operational efficiency, and even availability.
  7. The IT guy is in charge of the building’s HVAC system: The gap between IT and facilities is shrinking, and the lion’s share of the responsibility for both pieces is falling on the IT professionals. Traditionally, IT and data center managers have had to work through facilities when they needed more power or cooling to support increasing IT needs. That process is being streamlined. For engineers, it is important that they now incorporate all of these players into the design process. Gone are the days when the engineer had to work with only one or two individuals, usually from the facility side. Now it is a complex ecosystem comprised of IT, operations, facilities, and sometimes procurement.
  8. That patchwork data center needs to be a quilt: In the past, data center managers and engineers freely mixed and matched components from various vendors because those systems worked together only tangentially. However, the advent of increasingly intelligent, dynamic infrastructure technologies and monitoring and management systems has increased the amount of actionable data across the data center, delivering real-time modeling capabilities that enable significant operational efficiencies. IT and infrastructure systems still can work independently, but to truly leverage the full extent of their capabilities, integration is imperative.
  9. Data center on demand is a reality: The days of lengthy design, order and deployment delays are over. Today there are modular, integrated, rapidly deployable data center solutions for any space. Integrated, virtually plug-and-play solutions that include rack, server, and power and cooling can be installed easily in a closet or conference room. On the larger end, containerized data centers can be used to quickly establish a network or to add capacity to an existing data center.
  10. IT loads vary—a lot: Many industries see extreme peaks and valleys in their network usage. Financial institutions, for example, may see heavy use during traditional business hours and virtually nothing overnight. Holiday shopping and tax seasons also can create unusual spikes in IT activity.

Businesses depending on their IT systems during these times need to have the capacity to handle those peaks but often operate inefficiently during the valleys. A scalable infrastructure with intelligent controls can adjust to those highs and lows to ensure efficient operation.

For more information on reliable power for data centers, contact South Shore Generator.

Source: generac.com

Generac Expands Innovative Line of Power Series Transfer Switches

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 30, 2017
South Shore Generators - Generac Natural Power Series Transfer Switches

Introducing a new line of automatic transfer switches has allowed Generac Power Systems to expand its current product offering and improve the safety of operators and technicians in the field. The next wave of Power Series transfer switches, which include 100-1600-amp service entrance rated models and 2000-3000-amp non-service entrance rated contactor-based models, provide simplified mechanisms when compared to dual breaker products and promote safety with optional maintenance selector switches, which isolate control cabinets from on-site power sources.

While new service entrance-rated models feature 100 percent-rated circuit breakers with electronic trip capabilities and long/short time adjustments for instantaneous breaker coordination, non-service rated switches offer stored energy mechanisms that allow manual operation under load. Thanks to separate low- and high-voltage compartments, all models will also be able to minimize the potential for arc flash exposure during maintenance.

These additions are UL1008 and CSA rated, and feature the same controllers as other Power Series models. Equipped with the same LCD displays as existing Power Series transfer switches, these controllers enable easy programming, system diagnostics and help menu access to ensure ease-of-use for customers familiar with past controller models.

All switches feature in-phase or time delay neutrals and indicate switch operation with an easily understandable mimic diagram. A multi-tap control power transformer also allows each switch to be field converted if necessary. Other optional features include a digital multifunction power quality meter, remote annunciators, transient voltage surge suppression and Ethernet connectivity for integrating Building Management Systems.

Expanding the breadth of its automatic transfer switch options will allow Generac to efficiently support the needs of various backup power systems, including light industrial sites, emergency standby and critical power applications.

For more information, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Source: generac.com

The Use of Natural Gas Generators, Is Natural Gas or Diesel More Acceptable in MA?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 23, 2017
South Shore Generators - Generac Natural Gas Generators

Generac Industrial Power recently attended the 2017 NFPA conference in Boston, Mass. to discuss the use of natural gas generators in emergency system applications with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) community.

The reliability of natural gas as fuel for emergency generator applications tends to create interesting discussions within the market. As the standard for standby power generation, NFPA 110, has plenty to say about reliability concerns and best practices relative to adequately maintaining on-site diesel. However, it provides little guidance for the acceptance of natural gas reliability. The National Electric Code (NEC) article 700.12(B)(3) states: “Prime movers shall not be solely dependent on a public utility gas system for their fuel supply - except: ‘Where acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction, the use of other than on-site fuels shall be permitted where there is a low probability of a simultaneous failure of both the off-site fuel delivery system and power from the outside electrical utility company.’”

So what is reliable enough? According to a 2013 report by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Lincoln Laboratory, natural gas distribution systems operate at a reliability rate exceeding 99.999 percent, with the exception of seismically active areas. Incidentally, that makes the natural gas distribution system approximately one thousand times more reliable than a single-engine generator set, which is typically assumed to be 99 percent reliable. To probe these questions, Generac surveyed 110 attendees at the NFPA show with three questions:

Is natural gas acceptable in your area?

The first asked if natural gas was an acceptable fuel for emergency system applications in their jurisdiction. Sixty-four percent replied yes; another 25 percent was uncertain. This illustrated a very high acceptance rate that mirrors the explosive growth in natural gas generators documented by Frost and Sullivan – 38 percent of the total North American market revenue is now natural gas generators, which is up from 28 percent only three years prior.

Who dictates acceptance? What guidelines exist?

The second question asked who determines if natural gas is an acceptable fuel for emergency systems and whether there are guidelines for accepting or rejecting this continuous fuel source. To this question, the respondents identified AHJ & fire marshal by 36 percent, but 43 perecent were uncertain. None of the respondents provided guidance regarding guidelines for acceptance. This highlights some of the challenges that are created when the code uses subjective language and provides little guidance regarding reliability. To that end, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created a guideline regarding the evaluation of natural gas generators for nursing homes. The reliability of a natural gas fuel source can be proven with a letter from the natural gas vendor that contains the following:

  • A statement that the fuel source is reasonably reliable
  • A description supporting the assertion that the source is reasonably reliable
  • A statement of the low likelihood of an interruption
  • A description supporting the assertion that the likelihood of interruption is low
  • A signature from technical personnel

Similar processes, which leverage a letter from the local gas utility, are often utilized by the AHJ community when natural gas reliability is perceived as questionable within the market. Another method for determining reliability may leverage the guidance given for determining electric utility reliability in fire pump applications. NFPA 20 A.9.3.2 defines reliable as not having experienced any shutdowns longer than four continuous hours in the year prior to planning. This standard does not require the utility source to be infallible; it only requires a utility source free from routine outages. Using these criteria, most natural gas systems across the United States should be deemed reliable.

What is your personal perception of natural gas?

The last question focused on each attendee’s personal perception of natural gas reliability. Fifty-five percent of the respondents felt natural gas was favorable to diesel with 38 percent uncertain. This relatively high perception of natural gas reliability is influenced by personal experiences with hurricanes Irene and Sandy, both of which destroyed the long-standing conventional wisdom that diesel fuel delivery was assured even during the most severe emergencies. Both storms caused enough damage to the petroleum supply networks, making refueling requirements a challenge. Hurricane Sandy devastated fuel terminals across the Northeast. Even if a delivery truck was able to get to a terminal, it was unlikely it would be able to obtain fuel. The available fuel and trucks within the region were often redirected by the government to hospitals and targeted emergency response facilities.

It is incorrect to conclude that diesel fuel, simply by its on-site presence, is more reliable than natural gas. A reliable fuel supply is one that is consistently available in sufficient quantity and quality to ensure reliable emergency power. It is necessary to holistically examine external factors influencing the relative reliability of natural gas and diesel.

The Boston NFPA conference allowed Generac a great opportunity to explore these topics directly with a cross section of the AHJ community. These insights help illustrate that natural gas acceptance continues to grow within markets that have an established natural gas infrastructure. In these markets, the resulting awareness and acceptance of natural gas-fueled emergency generators is quite high.

For more information, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Source: generac.com

How the Internet Kept Running During The Hurricanes

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 16, 2017
South Shore Generators in Wareham,MA

At one node of the industrial backbone that keeps the internet running, employees sheltered from the worst of Hurricane Irma in a stairwell of a seven-story building in downtown Miami. When the power had gone out, diesel generators instantly kicked in to keep the lights on and prevent the internet from going down.

In Houston, at another of these nodes, called data centers, Hurricane Harvey pushed waters so high that a live fish flopped in a loading dock, but the physical defenses held.

Yet another data center, west of Houston, was so well prepared for the storm — with backup generators, bunks and showers — that employees’ displaced family members took up residence and United States marshals used it as a headquarters until the weather passed.

“It wasn’t Noah’s ark, but it was darn close,” said Rob Morris, managing partner and co-founder of Skybox, the company that runs the center.

For all their seeming immateriality, the internet and the cloud rely on a vast industrial infrastructure consisting of data centers linked through a sprawling network of fiber optics. The facilities are stacked with servers — boxlike computers that crunch the data for everything from hospitals, law enforcement agencies and banks to news websites, email and weather reports — that cannot be without electricity and cooling for even a fraction of a second.

Yet even as millions of people lost power across Florida, and thousands of homes and businesses were flooded out in Miami and Texas, the heavy digital machinery at the heart of the internet and the cloud held firm.

Though the storm disabled some cellphone towers and local connections, the center never stopped processing and transmitting data. It lost utility power around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, but supplied its own electricity with the generators.

When the storm eased and he walked outside, Mr. Eassey said, he immediately saw the effect that Digital Realty and other data centers had by keeping the servers going. “Everyone was talking on their phones, searching on their phones, and commerce that uses the internet to do their business was up and running,” he said.

A list of Digital Realty’s top customers shows why those operations are so important: Clients include IBM, Facebook, CenturyLink, Oracle, Yahoo, Morgan Stanley, AT&T and JPMorgan Chase, among others.

Inside the centers, the drill during a natural disaster can be overwhelming. One company, EdgeConneX, lost utility power for three days at a Miami data center, two days at a center in Jacksonville, Fla., and two days at an Atlanta location. But Rich Werner, director of operations at the company, said that backup generators turned on and service was never interrupted.

“Data center operations, to me, is 362 days of boredom,” Mr. Werner said. “And then you get these hurricanes coming through, and it’s three days of pulling your hair out.”

There are no legal standards for data centers unless they house servers for clients like government agencies, which require special protections.

But a professional organization, the Seattle-based Uptime Institute, rates the facilities on four tiers of resiliency for events like storms, earthquakes and run-of-the-mill power failures — possibly one reason the internet performed creditably during the hurricanes. The institute’s engineers “go to the site and pull the plug,” said Mark Harris, senior vice president of marketing, “and to be certified, it has to keep running.”

So when a hurricane or a tornado or an ice storm happens, the entire data center has been designed to withstand these external factors.

During Harvey and Irma, those measures seemed to work, said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at Dyn, a web performance company with servers at a Miami data center. “I’m not aware of any core internet services going down,” he said.

Practically every single large oil and gas company in the world” operates servers in its data centers — an indication of how commerce of all kind relies on the facilities.

Depending on local conditions, some centers got off easier than others. In Houston facilities run by Data Foundry, automated systems worked so well that employees pooled resources and watched the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight on pay-per-view.

Everyone in the business says that extensive preparation is critical.

The peak of the storm passed over the weekend, and when the power went out, the center was ready with diesel generators and a 10,500-gallon diesel tank on the site.

In Houston’s so-called energy corridor, the Skybox campus stayed above water. Utility power never went down. But the site was stocked with thousands of gallons of diesel fuel, as well as food and water, emergency medical kits, showers, bunk rooms and flares.

The site, which is a “modern-day fortress,” began hosting not only employees but several of their families, whose houses were flooded. Then the building doubled as an emergency response center for the United States marshals. Roughly 50 people used or stayed on the campus at one point or another during the storm.

If you want to keep your business up and running during the worst of weather, contact South Shore Generator in Wareham, MA.

Source: NY Times


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