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Lessons Learned from the CES 2018 Power Outage

Lessons Learned From The CES 2018 Power Outage

Darkness took center stage at the Las Vegas Convention Center for a little over 2 hours during day two of the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

Eventually power was restored and attendees were able to get back to learning more about the new technology that will shape our world.  After review, it appeared that a large volume of rain had caused a transformer failure, shutting down large areas of the convention center.

CES is the worlds largest consumer technology show globally. It set a record this year in attendance with over 4000 companies showcasing the latest in gadgets and exciting technology to more than 180,000 industry professionals.

While this was certainly a show stopper, at least for a while, power outages, similar to the one at CES is not as uncommon as one might think. In fact, Eaton, a U.S. based critical power manufacturer, has a tracker dedicated to power issues and blackouts. According to their report, over the past 9 years, U.S. exposure to power outages is on the rise. In short, downtime keeps going up.

Table of US power outages by year

To put this into perspective, the same report goes on to state that damages resulting from power outages, surges, spikes and other anomalies are estimated to cost more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy alone.

There are also new threats to worry about, hackers can target utility companies looking for vulnerabilities in our electrical grid. Aging infrastructure is another concern, and not just for utilities either. The recent power outage that Delta Airlines faced in 2016 was a result of aging piece of switchgear.

There are several resources available to track and point towards power outages and their effects on business. In fact, it is estimated that of the businesses that experience a significant downtime or catastrophic event, 40% fail to regain momentum and eventually close their doors.

It isn’t always weather to worry about, sometimes the cause might be employee error, traffic accidents, squirrels or monkeys.

While there is significant concern over such events, it is important to note that not all is doom and gloom. There are excellent ways to avoid these disasters and protect your businesses livelihood, and reputation. In our connected and integrated world, ensuring that you have proper backup equipment in place is crucial for uptime. Here are a few steps to cover:

Determine your cost of downtime

Your business needs power to operate, but if power is unavailable, do you know how this would affect your bottom line? Our simple to use Cost of Downtime Calculator can help start that conversation.

Identify and understand your infrastructure before catastrophe hits

Talk to your critical power partner and discuss your infrastructure. You should fully understand what would happen in the event of a loss of power or other power event. Was your generator, UPS system and critical infrastructure properly commissioned during installation? It is also key to periodically test your equipment to ensure that it will function flawlessly in the event of a crisis.

Maintain your equipment

This might seem simple, but not all service providers are created equal, nor do they complete the same scope of work or maintenance schedule. For  more information on what you should look for in your maintenance partner, review our easy guide.

Consider redundancy

Critical environments need redundancy. Your business or infrastructure should consider the cost of downtime, along with your equipment needs, and discuss whether redundancy is important. This might be as simple as redundancy in your UPS, through a scalable, modular system (see the Gamatronic UPS) or complete redundant A|B paths to all critical equipment. It is also a great time to discuss your disaster recovery (DR) and understand if a colocation or cloud based DR site might be appropriate.

As a critical power partner, Quality Power Solutions has been helping companies stay online since 2002. We can help you identify vulnerabilities and install and maintain the critical power systems that support your business. Give us a call to discuss your UPS systems, critical infrastructure and other needs. We can provide an onsite consultation to help keep your business powered on.