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BLOG > January 2020 > Backup Generators for Utility Outages

Backup Generators for Utility Outages

Our electrical utility companies do an admirable job of restoring power. Certain conditions such as high winds can prevent repair efforts. Extended outages present a host of problems. For solutions to these problems, read more here!!

Utility Power Outages

Ice, Snow & Wind Can Damage Electrical Infrastructure
There are many things that can cause a utility power outage. This creates an extensive list of problems that can cause failures. They can be categorized in a few basic areas listed below:
  • Weather or Natural Disasters - Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, bomb cyclones, and other winter events with large amounts of wind snow and ice. These examples can completely devastate the electrical infrastructure of a local or widespread area.
  • Human Error - Any loss of utility power resulting from a mistake buy an operator, technician, or outside occurrence. An automobile accident damaging an electrical power pole is an example. It is generally confined to a local area.
  • Maintenance or Voluntary Shutdown - Parent electrical supplier secures power to repair or maintain infrastructure. Maintenance activities are generally local, while voluntary shutdowns can last for days or weeks.  

Electrical Infrastructure Basics

It helps to understand the basic electrical grid when examining power outages. The electrical infrastructure or grid for the United States extends into Canada. The grid consists of main power generating plants that produce electricity. These generating plants send the electricity via high voltage lines to substations. Substations then route the electricity to local customers. A variety of switchgear, transformers, distribution panels, and main controllers are used in this process.

Length of Outage

Most of the time, power outages are not announced, and when the lights go out, our first questions are, “How long will power be secured?” Many electrical providers have text alerts for when power is lost, and websites that show affected areas that calculate the time until the power is supplied. Manpower, accessibility to damaged equipment, and weather conditions all can add to the time required for repair. Initial time after repair estimates can accumulate because of these conditions.  

A backup power supply is the answer for both long in short term power failures. Diesel or natural gas generators can provide the solution for power outages. Generator Source has more than 38 years of generator experience. We offer both new and used generators of all styles and capacities. Go to Inventory view our in-stock generators. Our extensive supplier network allows us to offer crane and trucking services. Often, we can arrange for shipping within 24-hours of completion of sales. Contact Us for more information or to get the ball rolling.       

Individual Generator Requirements

MTU 20 kW Generator for Outdoor Applications
Most generator installations are different from one another. While capacities and generator capabilities remain the same for these buildings, the application often changes. Generator manufacturers produce generators in all sizes for the following applications:
  • Indoor – Engine, radiator, and alternator (generator end) are constructed on a framework sometimes called a skid. This style of the generator requires supporting or auxiliary systems to operate. Cooling air louvers, fuel systems including fuel tanks, and exhaust the systems must be installed. The room must be large enough to accommodate generator size and operating specifications.
  • Outdoor – Engine, radiator, and alternator constructed on a framework. Most models feature a fuel tank that is double-walled and sized to operating needs of generator. An enclosure surrounds the generator. They can be sound attenuated to reduce the operating noise and weather resistant for severe conditions. These generators are not portable they must be transported via truck or tractor and trailer. Once set on flat level ground, they can be connected to the building grid and are ready for service.
  • Portable - An outdoor generator that has been constructed at the manufacturer to be towed instead of hauled by truck and trailer. Connected by ball & hitch, ring & pintle or 5th wheel, depending on size of generator. Popular for temporary use and in the construction industry for ease of transportation. Ready to connect to the grid and supply power.

Choosing Your Generator

Generator size, style, and location are all factors to consider when selecting your generator. Generator manufacturers such as MTU, Caterpillar, and Cummins offer generators for all three applications in most desired sizes.

Indoor generators pose the most complicated of installations. This can require some disassembly of the generator unit, depending on accessibility to the space for installation. Outdoor generators can be located on any flat level surface that will support its operating weight. Portable generators are generally used for temporary power for a building or site complex.

The size of the generator is often called the capacity and are rated in kilowatts or kilovolt amperes for the size of the load demand. When calculating the needed power, it is advisable to consult with an engineering specialist.

Our technical staff can help with all generator questions. Once the generator is selected, often site-specific modifications are required. We have a fully tooled fabrication and generator rebuild shop on site. Complete installation, deinstallation, troubleshooting, repair, and maintenance services are offered. For more information, go to Generator Source.

Diesel Blog Team | 1/1/2020 10:10:19 AM | 0 comments
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