Planning for the inevitable power outage can be thought of as a continuum from no backup power to complete coverage of all circuits in all locations. There is no single point on that continuum that is right for every business.
Things to Consider
- How important are your products and/or services during an extended outage? High priority examples:
- Gas stations, convenience stores
- Pharmacies, drug stores
- Building supply stores
- Media (radio, TV, newspapers)
- Municipal services (water, sewer, garbage pickup, etc.)
- Which areas (cities, counties, states or regions) represent the highest priority needs for backup power? Consider:
- Likelihood of an extended outage
- Geographical location
- Population density
- Legislative requirements
- How many locations do you have in each priority area?
- Can each area be divided into smaller, contiguous territories to provide the best possible coverage with the fewest number
of physical locations?
- Distance (locations within X mile radius)
- Population density (i.e., 50,000 people)
- Do, or can your locations within each territory offer different products and/or levels of service? Examples include:
- Gas station vs. convenience store
- Drug store only vs. pharmacy with food, personal items, gifts
- 24 hour service vs. typical business hours
- Full service restaurant vs. drive thru
- Which locations offer the greatest potential revenue during an extended outage? Consider:
- Average number of customers
- Average hourly revenue
- Potential based on location, population, need for your products and/or services
Selecting a Backup System
Determining how much backup power will be required for each location can be a complex process. Always consult a professional for proper system sizing.
For “Full Operation”, the backup system must have an amp rating greater than the total of the electrical loads in each facility.
For “Limited Operation”, all electrical loads to be backed up must be taken into account. Since the power (amps) required to start some loads (air conditioning, refrigeration, etc.) will be significantly higher than operating amps, the system will need to be sized to handle starting amps as well as running amps.
Examples of Electrical Loads
- Interior / exterior lighting
- Computers / registers
- Security system
- Air conditioning / heat
- Pumps (fuel / water / etc.)
- Ovens / ranges
- Other specialized equipment