It seems as if Old Man Winter has the entire country in its icy grip this year with no letup in sight. Wave after wave of ice storms, blizzards and freezing cold have battered the East Coast from Washington, D.C., to New England, creating a record year of power outages, stranded commuters, closed businesses and overall gridlock in places that typically don’t experience this kind of severe winter weather. As a result, being without power in dangerously low temps and with impassable roads for any amount of time can be dangerous and costly, especially to a small-business owner.
A typical small-business standby power system consists of a fuel supply, a generator set and an automatic transfer switch (ATS) that connects to the location’s electric service panel. The fuel supply for the generator is usually a natural gas or LP/propane line. When the ATS detects a loss of utility power, it commands the generator to start. Then, the ATS switches the business from the utility to the generator, and the generator begins delivering power to the shop’s distribution panel – usually in about 10 seconds.A good example of an advanced small-business backup power system is the new Connect™ Series from Cummins Power Generation. It periodically checks itself to make sure it is ready to produce power, and it can also communicate with the owner by text or email to provide alerts when units are operating or need service. Consult an authorized dealer A qualified and licensed professional should handle the installation, which includes fuel and electrical connections (permits are needed) in addition to these other steps:
- Determining the right size and model of generator for the business
- Installing the generator in a location that complies with applicable codes
- Taking care of regular preventive maintenance and service calls
- Answering questions and guiding the business owner through the operation of the generator