Hurricane Sandy caused widespread, prolonged outages in New York and damages upwards of $50 billion. Not surprisingly, the state knew it needed a better plan. It hit the drawing board, conducting a large-scale study on its backup power capacity. Florida, perhaps the nation’s most hurricane-prone state, has launched an e-shelter program that turns public schools into emergency shelters with 10 kWh solar systems and battery backups. And governments aren’t the only ones investing in emergency power planning. Utilities have a track record for developing robust risk assessments and response protocols in case of the inevitable (yet unexpected) outage. From transmission lines to hospitals and police stations, these plans typically outline where, how and when electricity gets restored.
It’s essential to develop a comprehensive plan for what to do when an emergency threatens your power supply. But every emergency is different. Fleet availability and conditions are dynamic. And sometimes, even the best crafted plan doesn’t get you to the best solution. Whether or not your organization has an emergency preparedness plan, the goal is the same: to get the lights back on as quickly as possible. To realize that goal, you need a reliable, fast-moving emergency power service.
Finding the best emergency power service
When you need power quickly and are evaluating emergency power solutions, use this checklist to ensure you secure the best power from the best partner.
1. Will the solution be fast-tracked?
Why It Matters: When your power supply experiences an outage, every second is critical. Waiting months isn’t an option. With the right partner, you can secure a solution within weeks.
What to Look For: Fleet ability is key. If the company doesn’t have fleet availability, it could push back your timeline (and inflate the price of the power). When you ask an emergency power service how quickly they can get you up and running, they should be able to provide a clear answer. If not, look elsewhere.
2. Does the team have a track record for reliable emergency power?
Why It Matters: Aside from speed, reliability is perhaps the most critical factor in choosing an emergency power service. Reliable power makes your utility or government the hero. Unreliable power makes an already chaotic emergency situation even more complicated.
What to Look For: As you’re asking your prospective partner about fleet availability, also inquire about its maintenance practices. Emergency diesel generators, gas turbines and mobile power solutions all need to be maintained in order to deliver reliable power. The company should also have statistics on the reliability of its emergency power generators based on previous client work.
3. Can they transition you to long-term power?
Why It Matters: During an emergency or shortage, it’s critical to focus on the best solution for that moment. But there’s also value to taking a longer-term view of the situation. By choosing a short-term power solution that can be transitioned to permanent power, you can maximize the value in terms of both costs and efficiency.
What to Look For: Not every emergency power service will have the expertise to transition short-term solutions to long-term power. This requires substantial engineering expertise and ingenuity. Ask your partner for case studies that showcase their track record in this specialized area of emergency power.
4. Do their engineers understand the needs of utilities?
Why It Matters: Utilities have unique power requirements and must satisfy fluctuating levels of demand at any given moment. For this reason and many others, supplying short-term power for utilities isn’t as simple as delivering an emergency diesel generator. Every second matters, and choosing a partner that doesn’t have proven expertise could cost you time, efficiency and money.
What to Look For: When you’re experiencing an emergency, no one wants to spend time vetting emergency power services. But by asking the power provider a few simple questions, you can save yourself the frustration and inefficiency of working with a partner that’s not equipped to get the job done. Ask for descriptions of projects that the emergency power service has successfully completed with utilities, and if your situation has unique challenges, discuss those transparently with your partner upfront to minimize confusion and lost time.
Does your utility or government organization need a reliable emergency power service? Contact us to talk about your emergency power plan and how SoEnergy can help. If you’re seeking short-term power now, use our “Get Power Now” form to fast-track the process.