April 8, 2021

Emergency Power: Preparing Your City for Power Outages

white-diesel-standby-generator

There are many assets community members love about their cities: schools, shopping, parks and recreation, scenery, and safety. Without health and safety, citizens can't feel free to enjoy all their community has to offer. When power systems go down in a city or municipality, it is vital to have an emergency power source to keep critical services active. 

Why Do Power Systems Go Down?

Many hazards can cause large-scale power failure. The United States has more power outages than any other developed country. Most outages can't be prevented, but they can be prepared for. Installing industrial generators to provide emergency power is a proactive step for cities and municipalities to limit the impact of power interruptions on their citizens. 

Natural hazards

Hurricanes and earthquakes, among other natural disasters, can have catastrophic impacts on power systems. If generation, transmission, and distribution systems are all affected, long-term blackouts could be costly and have negative ramifications to safety, public health, and a city's finances.

Equipment failure

Equipment failure happens. Regardless of the amount of maintenance attempted, the equipment can malfunction or fail for various reasons, including high demand. Depending on the type of equipment, cause, and availability of qualified technicians, the repair could be quick or lengthy. It's crucial to be prepared with an emergency power source during this time. 

Accident

Excavation digging can disturb underground cables. Motor vehicle collisions are also a common accident that can affect a power system. Additionally, operator and technician error can cause unintentional damage. Whether intentional or not, the consequences are the same. An industrial generator can bridge the gap in services until repairs are made. 

Sabotage

Bulk power systems are vulnerable to sabotage. Even small-scale attacks can have far-reaching consequences. With relatively little effort, multiple unmanned sites or those in isolated areas could be targeted by terrorists, both domestic and foreign. While there have only been small-scale attacks on power systems in the United States, vulnerability remains, and preparedness is crucial. 

What Critical Services Are Affected By Power Outages?

Citizens depend on their cities and municipalities for critical infrastructure, including:

  • Water supply
  • Hospitals
  • Transportation
  • Police protection
  • Fire protection
  • Telecommunication
  • Goods 
  • Financial services
  • Education

Having a backup emergency power plan for crucial infrastructure ensures your community is safe and has its basic needs met during a crisis. This also provides a sense of togetherness and the ability to overcome. When basic needs are met, a community can work together to become even stronger through the process. 

Examples of large-scale power outages

The number one cause of power outages in the United States is the weather. Weather is unpredictable in timing, location, and scale. However, the three worst power outages in United States history were from a variety of causes. 

  • 1965 Northeast Blackout. In five minutes, a small power surge from a minor line led to a major line's shutdown, leaving 30 million people without power for 13 hours. 
  • 1977 New York City Blackout. A lightning-struck substation led to 16 hours before power was restored. It also resulted in large-scale looting and rioting. 
  • 1982 West Coast Blackout.  High winds were the culprit when a key transmission line went down, leaving 2 million people without power. 

How Can Generators Help?

Not only can industrial generators provide emergency backup power to keep critical infrastructure active, but by keeping communities running, they also communicate to citizens the value placed on public health and safety. When power systems go down, not only are health and safety at risk, livelihoods are interrupted, and faith in city government is questioned. 

Having an emergency industrial generator is essential. Having a team of professionals to also service your generators, who also understand contingency operations, such as hurricane relief, is invaluable.  Power Systems Services can help.