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Power Monitoring: How Power Outages Affect You in Ways You Wouldn't Expect

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The primary damage caused by a power outage is obvious: if commercial power fails at your remote site, and you don't have a reliable backup power supply, the site will eventually go dark. Dark sites mean network downtime, lost revenue, and frustrated customers who will readily shift their business to an alternative provider.

But power outages also cause long-term damage that isn't so obvious. A complete power loss at a remote site can
affect your equipment - and your business - even after power is restored.

Here are some of the top hidden damages caused by power outages. Consider these 5 good reasons why you
need a bulletproof power monitoring and power backupalign plan

1. Thermal Shutdown from Failed Air Conditioning

You may have backup power for your revenue-generating equipment, but do you have backup power for your air conditioning? A surprising number of telecoms forget about the need for air conditioning in a power outage. They may have a DC battery power plant for revenue-generating equipment,
but they provide no alternate AC power for air conditioning. Just because equipment isn't rack-mounted doesn't mean it's not critical to network operations.

The revenue-generating equipment keeps running - until the rising temperature forces a thermal shutdown. Thermal shutdown from failed air conditioning is, in the long run, a greater expense than a site that simply fails from a power outage. Equipment in thermal shutdown can't be restarted until the temperature returns to normal - long after the power outage is over. This makes recovery time longer and reduces revenue.

2. Battery Damage

Most backup batteries are not designed to be completely drained of energy. Batteries that are run all the way down can be damaged permanently. Some battery-plants are completely integrated into the site, powering all primary equipment, this can cause additional issues that complicate restoration. Considering the expense of telecom-quality batteries, multiplied by the number of remote sites affected by the outage, this can become a noticeable business expense. The good news is that all this trouble and expense is avoidable with proper monitoring.

Heat caused failed air conditioning will dramatically shorten the useful life of batteries. For example, a lead-acid battery that would last ten years under ordinary conditions will be reduced to only 1¼ years if it is consistently operated at temperatures above 122° Fahrenheit.

3. Increased Windshield Time and Added
Truck Rolls

Increased Windshield Time

Anytime you have to put a highly paid technician in a truck and send him to a remote site you are losing money. If the problem could have been handled through monitoring and control relays, you're losing money completely unnecessarily.

Your power loss recovery plan must include an adequate source of backup power, and a means of switching to backup power automatically. You must also be able to monitor the status of your backup power supply, and regularly test whether battery levels are adequate and backup generators are functional.

Unmonitored batteries cause excessive truck rolls, and your probably have more unmonitored batteries than you realize. For example, start-up batteries for generators are typically not monitored. If commercial power fails, and the generator can't start because of a drained starter battery, you'll definitely have to send a maintenance technician. If the battery is unmonitored, you won't know it until you need it. Another way to prevent this is to regularly exercise your backup generators.

4. Loss of Remote Visibility

Your remote monitoring equipment also needs a reliable source of backup power. A major service breakdown is no time to lose visibility of your remote sites.

If your remote monitoring equipment is offline during a power outage, you will not be able to:

  1. Get status of backup power supply
  2. Receive environmental alarms for overheating, fire,
    and water damage
  3. View site security, door, gate, and intrusion alarms
  4. Get all other equipment alarms as well as lose any
    terminal server visibility that the device may provide
  5. Control remote equipment that may be part of
    restoration, such as starting up a generator

5. Lost Revenue Plus Repair, Replacement,
and Manpower Costs

What all these hidden damages add up to is unnecessary costs. The effects of a power outage are not only on your equipment, or on your operations - the true net effect is on your bottom line.

The financial effect of a power outage falls into four categories:

  1. Lost revenue
  2. Repair of damaged equipment
  3. Replacement of equipment damaged beyond repair
  4. Manpower costs of restoring service
Unless you have an adequate backup plan, power outages mean increased costs and lost revenue. You owe it to your business to protect yourself with a proactive response to power outages.

T/Mon NOC Alarm Monitoring System

T/Mon NOC can help keep your power supply in good order. T/Mon's derived alarms feature makes it easy to schedule generator self-tests that happen entirely in the background. You receive an alarm only if the generator test is not performed. Maintaining your backup power supply will reduce the damage caused by power outages and the need for repairs, keeping your windshield time and truck rolls to the bare minimum.

NetGuardian 832A G4

Get immediate notification when battery voltage drops below user defined thresholds. Use the NetGuardian's Web Browser interface to log into the unit and inspect the live voltage levels at your site.

Power Monitoring Tech-Brief

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How Power Outages Affect You in Ways You Wouldn't Expect

A power outage can affect your site in ways you wouldn't have imagined. This Tech-Brief explains some of those site-affecting conditions you could encounter during a power outage. Learn what these conditions are so that you can take immediate preventative measures.

Outages also cause long-term damage that isn't so obvious. A complete power loss at a remote site can affect your equipment and your business even after power is restored.


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