Submitted by Interstate Electric Company
With the dead of winter upon us, this is an especially important time of year to prepare the best we can, for the unexpected. It’s nearly impossible to know when drastic weather or other disasters might lead to a power outage or infrastructure damage. However, it is possible to set ourselves up for success in the event one should occur. Here are some tips to help you get ready for winter and beyond.
Consult Your Electrical Contractor
Whether you are working with a large electrical contractor, like Interstate, or with a small team, your contractor should be available to help you plan for outages and other service interruptions. Depending on your preferred level of involvement, your electrical contractor can help you with generator rental and coordination, collaborate with other key teams, and create and execute an action plan. If you’ve worked with your contractor previously, they will have a helpful record of work in your building and will likely know the voltage, phase rotation, ampacity, and other details that are key for power restoration.
Generators are hot commodities when a widespread power outage strikes. Corporations and businesses with multiple locations will put down a deposit to reserve generators at the beginning of the winter season or before a large storm. For everyone else, it tends to be “first come, first serve.” Do your best to plan ahead and reserve the proper size generator for your building(s).
Know Your Building
Most people don’t know how to consider exact power consumption, but you will need to know approximately how much power the building draws to ensure you are using the correct size generator in the event of an outage. Keeping your power utility bills easily accessible is a great way to keep track of your usage. In the event of an emergency, consider what systems or floors are most important to bring back online. For example, a grocery store should prioritize refrigeration units, while a computer security company should ensure mission-critical servers and systems are back online first.
Test and Inspect Equipment
It’s important to have the building’s electrical equipment tested and inspected regularly by certified professionals. While most vital electrical components have a long life, it is important to keep them maintained. Doing so also ensures your electrical contractor can maintain up-to-date records of the entire electrical system, making it easier to restore backup power to the building when needed. At Interstate, we keep extensive records of each jobsite and serviced buildings, ensuring we are prepared for the next visit.
Designate a Point Person
If possible, designate one point of contact on-site who knows the building well. It is not necessary for them to know the technical workings of the building, but they should know how to access the basement and know where the electrical room is located, for example. If you can’t find someone who can be on-site, make sure you have an expert ready via phone for any questions that may arise.
Interstate Electrical Services, founded in 1966, is headquartered in Massachusetts with offices in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.