Preparing for an emergency outage situation may be one of the most important plans you create as it can save time, money and operation continuity. All it takes is a little time and practice to make sure you’re covered during an electrical outage.
In the previous blog, we detailed the first two steps for implementing an effective emergency response plan – determining the electric load and knowing the ins and outs of your facility. Today, we present two additional steps for developing an emergency power plan.
Step 3: FIND A TRUSTED SUPPLIER
Your rental generator sets are only as reliable as the supplier who backs them. In planning for temporary power, find a rental power supplier that has the equipment you need and the staff qualified to solve your problems and service the machines.
Make an appointment with the supplier to get to know the people you’ll need to rely on during scheduled shutdowns and emergency power outages.
Here are basic questions to ask a potential supplier:
What is the power range(kW/kVA) of your generator set rental fleet?
Can you deliver immediately? If not, how long will it take?
What if I need a generator set in the middle of the night, or during a holiday?
Who supplies the fuel?
How are your rental contracts structured? How flexible are they?
Have you ever rented generator sets to customers in my industry?
What equipment/manpower do I need to provide?
What technical service/support do you offer?
How do I know the rental units are reliable?
What happens if a generator set I rent has problems?
Do you have cables and other equipment I may need?
Can you train my staff to hook up and operate the equipment?
How long will it take to deliver and install?
Can I obtain pre-approved credit so I can avoid delay during an emergency outage?
Can you supply an operator?
Supplier selection criteria should include:
The supplier should have all necessary equipment in stock – generator sets, cables,etc– or be willing to commit to gettingit on demand. Suppliers who do not have the equipment available in the region must have the capability to import it in an emergency.
Service and maintenance
The supplier should be willing to deliver the rental power generator sets and, in some cases, additional equipment including power cable, transformers and more. Suppliers should also train local personnel in the equipment operation or, if necessary, provide staff for operation, service and maintenance.
Since all generators need periodic maintenance and regular fueling, service trucks will need easy access to emergency power units to check fluids and filters and make adjustments as necessary. Your supplier should work with you to anticipate and overcome placement challenges related to maintenance access, blocked passageways and size restrictions.
A model supplier should work with you to determine fueling requirements in advance based on tank capacity.
At a minimum, the supplier should be strategically located toserve you. The ideal supplier will have multiple locations from which to deliver equipment and dispatch support staff.
Longevity in business can be a good indicator of a supplier’s reliability. Suppliers should be willing to discuss their track recordin delivering and installing equipment under tight deadlines, as well as their experience in emergencies. Reputable suppliers will always provide references.
When renting generator sets for emergencies, it is not always possible to secure an absolute guarantee for the availability of theequipment. However, some suppliers offer contracts that providea “right of first acceptance.” In this arrangement, a party pays the supplier a retainer fee for an allocation of specified equipment. In return, the supplier agrees not to release that equipment to another entity without the first party’s consent.
Step 4: IDENTIFY EMERGENCY PERSONNEL AND CONDUCT A DRY RUN:
Prepare a list of key contacts that will be responsible for carrying out your plan in an emergency. Make sure your team members have easy access to the list and update it as necessary. You should also have a plan for redundancy in each of the key contacts with multiple contact numbers.
After you’ve chosen the appropriate emergency equipment and roles have been defined for staff members, try your plan under pressure. These exercises will help ensure that everyone fully understands what to do in an actual power outage.
For more information, visit us online or contact your local Cat® dealer who will happily support you during a possible power outage.
We’d like to hear about your experience with implementing an emergency power plan:
Historically, have you been satisfied with service from suppliers?
How can a rental power supplier help improve your outage planning?
What special delivery arrangement have you made for a rental power solution?