17 May 2018

Utilities Use Mobile Power Systems for Emergencies and Natural Disasters


It’s easy for operations managers to think that emergencies and natural disasters won’t affect their sites, but they can actually be fairly common - there have been a fair number in the last few years alone. 

Unpredictable events like earthquakes, high winds, and floods can severely impact power supplies and cause weeks or even months of downtime for site managers that don’t have a process in place. Taking appropriate precautions can drastically decrease any resulting downtime and guard against vulnerabilities caused by mother nature. 

To protect against the resulting failures and outages caused by natural disasters, it’s vital that technicians and managers have both proactive and reactive processes in place to, first of all, avoid any major downtime and, secondly, get things back up and running as quickly as possible. 

Proactive Power Processes During Emergencies

Avoiding outages ahead of any foreseeable natural disasters is often the best form of action. 

Think about it this way: developing a plan in advance and having emergency equipment like mobile power systems on hand can give operations managers the strategic element they need to eliminate any last-minute outages. 

Reacting after a natural disaster has happened can cause extended outages and unforeseen costs if the effects are worse than imagined, which means managers can save themselves a lot of time and energy by getting a strategic plan in place beforehand. 

On top of that, avoiding or minimizing power outages caused by emergencies and natural disasters can drastically improve CAIDI and SAIDI scores.

How One Distribution Substation Got Back on Its Feet After a Snow Storm

Take one distribution substation we worked with in the pacific northwest. During a snowstorm and high winds, the transmission line went down leaving almost 50 homes without power in freezing conditions. 

Knowing that repairs would take several days, the substation brought us on board to supply a “Power Pack” and an additional generator. This generated enough power to turn the lights back on so residents weren’t left in the cold and dark. 

Reactive Restoration of Power After Emergencies

Sometimes the effects of a natural disaster can’t be predicted until after it has happened. In these instances, a reactive restoration process is required - this can take place after a tree has fallen down, after unforeseen flooding, and when the infrastructure is damaged without any warning. 

In situations like this - where operations managers don’t know how bad the damage will be - quick action needs to take place immediately after the event to avoid and serious downtime or loss of revenue. 

Again, implementing a mobile power system is one of the fastest ways to get a site back up and running again and, we create mobile systems and solutions that are tailor-made to each site and situation. 

During the planned maintenance event that takes place after a natural disaster has hit and affected the main power units, operations managers can avoid further rolling blackouts by deploying mobile power and distribution systems during every step of the process. 

How One City Powered Up After Hurricane Sandy

Devastating Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 and knocked out power across New York City and Long Island which would take days to repair. We supplied portable generators, transformers, and accessories to the city to support the most severely affected locations and installed 15 dedicated power technicians to work around the clock. 

As a result, the city only saw minimal downtime, and residents had power back much quicker than expected. 

We know that no two sites are the same, which means we work closely with operations managers to find the best approach and solution before expertly engineering and delivering the results. Because of this, each and every site we help can quickly minimize the after effects of emergencies and natural disasters in a way that’s best for their site without any major headaches and without losing any revenue.