Customers right now may not be keen on anything that looks like an optional extra, such as back-up power protection. Yet back-up power can be paramount, such as in an operating theatre at the hospital.
If the cost of providing back-up is greater than the potential cost of a power breakdown with no cover, power protection may be sidelined. Risk assessment will be critical. Ask customers what the effects would be of total power failure and of power surges, spikes and other irregularities.
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) publishes an annual electricity distribution quality of service report. The 2007/2008 version suggested that around 70 per cent of customers suffered power interruptions during the year, with an average of 65 minutes of outage per customer.
The average number of short interruptions (of less than three minutes length) per 100 connected customers was 86.
Ofgem does not prescribe any standards concerning the quality of the power supply. It is impossible to guarantee a continuously perfect power supply throughout electricity networks as natural events and the very use of the network by customers can cause the supply to be distorted by sags, spikes and other irregularities.
Resellers and distributors know that uninterrupted power supply (UPS) kit can protect against irregular supply and different types can provide solutions offering basic battery back-up right through to power conditioning.
Depending on the level of availability required, UPS could be a parallel redundant system, a hot standby system or a dual bus system. Choosing the right size for UPS can be tricky.
Check out product information online and take advantage of training opportunities, including structured courses, practical hands-on sessions and web-based seminars.
EU directives are mandating various efficiency and emission standards for electricity-using products and buildings.
Network, data processing and data storing equipment are included in the European Commission working plan for 2009-2011.
The standards apply both to the individual products and the systems and processes in which they are used. This suggests that systems and processes may best be designed as a single entity.
Datacentres tend to require power supply, air-conditioning and excess heat dissipation, which together control or affect the operation of energy-using equipment.
Some providers can supply complementary products across more than one of the disciplines, but importance is also being placed on partnerships, enabling heterogeneous offerings sold as bundles by resellers.
Resellers and distributors should educate customers about the mains irregularities that will inevitably occur.
Eben Owen is solutions channel manager at Emerson Network Power
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