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How Power Outages Affect You in Ways You Wouldn't Expect

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The primary damage caused by a power outage is obvious: if commercial power fails at your remote site, and you don't have a reliable backup power supply, the site will eventually go dark. Dark sites mean network downtime, lost revenue, and frustrated customers who will readily shift their business to an alternative provider.

But power outages also cause long-term damage that isn't so obvious. A complete power loss at a remote site can affect your equipment - and your business - even after power is restored.

Here are some of the top hidden damages caused by power outages. Consider these 5 good reasons why you need a bulletproof power monitoring and power backupalign plan

1. Thermal Shutdown from Failed Air Conditioning

You may have backup power for your revenue-generating equipment, but do you have backup power for your air conditioning? A surprising number of telecoms forget about the need for air conditioning in a power outage. They may have a DC battery power plant for revenue-generating equipment, but they provide no alternate AC power for air conditioning. Just because the equipment isn't rack-mounted doesn't mean it's not critical to network operations.

The revenue-generating equipment keeps running - until the rising temperature forces a thermal shutdown. Thermal shutdown from failed air conditioning is, in the long run, a greater expense than a site that simply fails from a power outage. Equipment in thermal shutdown can't be restarted until the temperature returns to normal - long after the power outage is over. This makes recovery time longer and reduces revenue.

2. Battery Damage

Most backup batteries are not designed to be completely drained of energy. Batteries that are run all the way down can be damaged permanently. Some battery-plants are completely integrated into the site, powering all primary equipment, this can cause additional issues that complicate restoration. Considering the expense of telecom-quality batteries, multiplied by the number of remote sites affected by the outage, this can become a noticeable business expense. The good news is that all this trouble and expense is avoidable with proper monitoring.

Heat caused failed air conditioning will dramatically shorten the useful life of batteries. For example, a lead-acid battery that would last ten years under ordinary conditions will be reduced to only 1¼ years if it is consistently operated at temperatures above 122° Fahrenheit.

3. Increased Windshield Time and Added Truck Rolls

Telecom truck rolls

Anytime you have to put a highly paid technician in a truck and send him to a remote site you are losing money. If the problem could have been handled through monitoring and control relays, you're losing money completely unnecessarily.

Your power loss recovery plan must include an adequate source of backup power, and a means of switching to backup power automatically. You must also be able to monitor the status of your backup power supply, and regularly test whether battery levels are adequate and backup generators are functional.

Unmonitored batteries cause excessive truck rolls, and your probably have more unmonitored batteries than you realize. For example, start-up batteries for generators are typically not monitored. If commercial power fails, and the generator can't start because of a drained starter battery, you'll definitely have to send a maintenance technician. If the battery is unmonitored, you won't know it until you need it. Another way to prevent this is to regularly exercise your backup generators.

4. Loss of Remote Visibility

Your remote monitoring equipment also needs a reliable source of backup power. A major service breakdown is no time to lose visibility of your remote sites.

If your remote monitoring equipment is offline during a power outage, you will not be able to:

  1. Get status of backup power supply
  2. Receive environmental alarms for overheating, fire, and water damage
  3. View site security, door, gate, and intrusion alarms
  4. Get all other equipment alarms as well as lose any terminal server visibility that the device may provide
  5. Control remote equipment that may be part of restoration, such as starting up a generator

5. Lost Revenue Plus Repair, Replacement, and Manpower Costs

What all these hidden damages add up to is unnecessary costs. The effects of a power outage are not only on your equipment, or on your operations - the true net effect is on your bottom line.

The financial effect of a power outage falls into four categories:

  1. Lost revenue
  2. Repair of damaged equipment
  3. Replacement of equipment damaged beyond repair
  4. Manpower costs of restoring service

Unless you have an adequate backup plan, power outages mean increased costs and lost revenue. You owe it to your business to protect yourself with a proactive response to power outages.

An Efficient Alarm Monitoring System Can Help Protect Your Network

Competent monitoring devices will protect your network and prevent issues caused by power outages.

With the NetGuardian 832A RTU, you'll receive immediate notifications when the battery voltage drops below your user-defined thresholds. You can also use its web browser interface to log into the unit and inspect the live voltage levels at your site.

And with the T/Mon LNX master station, you can keep your power supply in good order. T/Mon's derived alarms feature makes it easy to schedule generator self-tests that happen entirely in the background. You receive an alarm only if the generator test is not performed. Maintaining your backup power supply will reduce the damage caused by power outages and the need for repairs, keeping your windshield time and truck rolls to the bare minimum.

Talk to us and learn more about how our monitoring solutions will be the perfect fit for you.