Every facility is vulnerable to the threat of an outage that can grind their operations to a halt. Find out how you can limit the risk.
The condition of the electrical power systems that supply a facility should be a top concern for every organisation where downtime is to be avoided. Power is the least visible critical element required to run your organisation, but when failure occurs, the impact is palpable.
When investing in a new electrical system or power infrastructure, early engagement with a specialist electrical engineer at the design stage should ensure that your installation has important aspects of on-going maintainability “designed in” allowing for safe and regular servicing, planned shut-downs and future modifications. But even the most strategically designed solutions should take additional safeguarding measures to ensure operators are not kept in the dark over any outage risks.
It is important to recognise that the majority of power failures that occur within high-profile facilities are, quite alarmingly, caused by human error. Fortunately, this also means that most incidences of threat are avoidable. Prism Power Group highlights the following key areas that your organisation should consider reviewing to help mitigate risk and maximise the availability of electrical power supply in your building:
1. Train staff rigorously and test your procedures
The Uptime Institute’s analysis of data centre outages found that over 70% were directly attributable to human error
The people responsible for power system operations on a daily basis can change over time and are not those typically involved in the original design or installation. On-going training, particularly on systems that are less frequently operated, coupled with simple “step-through” instructions, such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s), are vital for enabling all operatives to manage the equipment correctly and with confidence. Facilities should keep up-to-date and thorough procedures for any planned maintenance works and modifications on critical equipment, engaging all key departments and personnel.
2. Use intelligent monitoring tools to visualise power and diagnose underlying problems
Monitoring is a vital tool for raising any issues that would have otherwise remained unseen before the fault occurred. Both BMS and branch circuit monitoring hardware and software deliver intuitive trending data insights to highlight any significant changes, such as the rates of rise in temperatures and energy consumption, and identify where systems are performing less effectively than before. Data can indicate required maintenance work, and help operators to diagnose problems and act on the valuable early warning signs of a failure.
3. Ensure long-term reliability with full life-cycle maintenance programmes
Regular preventative maintenance and testing of systems enables engineers to find and fix electrical faults within the critical infrastructure path before they fail. Regular annual surveys coupled with a “high level” plan for the life-time of equipment, will help preserve system security throughout its life-cycle and ensure assets are delivering long-term efficiency, reliability and ultimate value.
4. Keep spares on-site to reduce repair time
Keeping recommended spare parts and consumables (such as fuses, coils, contactors, circuit breakers etc.) selected for your unique facility risk factors and circumstances can significantly aid “first time fix” and reduce the MTTR (Mean Time To Repair) allowing operators to restore power and resilience quickly when equipment fails.
5. Audit regularly to ensure your facility is prepared now and for the future
Auditing is an integral part of every preventive maintenance regime, yet most facilities fail to do this regularly. Keeping records of critical systems, manuals and documentation, load capacities, and reviewing associated plans and procedures will give facility managers the greatest picture of their building’s preparedness and capacity for modifications. While there are several contributing factors to consider when looking to maximise power availability, these will all vary in the degree of their impact and importance according to every unique facility, its operations and objectives.
At Prism Power Group, we have a dedicated Maintenance Services division that offers specialist advice, training, equipment surveys, and associated services for maximising the value and security that facilities can achieve from their integral power systems.
From an assessment of your facility and operational objectives, we can offer a specifically tailored service and maintenance programme designed to meet your facility’s unique requirements. A preventative maintenance package would bring significant benefits and assurance that your systems are secure and will deliver optimum value over the lifetime.