Outages

Millions in California were left without power this fall as the state’s largest utility enacted its plan to shut off power in an effort to avoid a repeat of last year’s devastating wildfires. Amid gusty conditions and fears that a windblown electrical wire could spark a fire, the utility’s move left customers scrambling, a team of reporters writes in the Los Angeles Times.

“Classes were canceled. Frozen foods melted. Hospitals switched to emergency generators. Blooms withered in florists’ coolers. Unused food was jettisoned at shuttered restaurants. Lines formed at gas stations. Cellphones faded out.”

Although much of the media coverage of PG&E’s planned power outages has justifiably focused on the impact on homeowners, businesses and organizations also face significant challenges when the grid goes down. Loss of refrigerated foods or other inventory and canceled events can have a major impact on any commercial operation’s budget. According to power outage impact research conducted by B2B International, a power outage can cost a mid-sized business $14,000 on average and potentially much more.

Facilities managers, engineers, and construction professionals can address the threat of power outages in advance by including propane standby generators in their building plans. Propane generators can help make buildings more resilient and better able to withstand both man-made and weather-caused disruptions to the power grid.

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