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Para Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of power protection and management products including the Minuteman line of Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) for computers, servers, peripherals, voice and data communication systems, security systems and other mission-critical equipment.
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Power Protection:
Top Five Unexpected Events that can Leave you in the Dark
By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor

Sure we all know that lightning bolts, severe heat and natural disasters can cause power outages, but are there some other events out there that can wreak havoc on our businesses?

According to Minuteman UPS/Para Systems, a leading provider of power protection technologies, the answer is yes – and those events might seem unconventional.

“Administrators often think of the obvious causes of power outages, which include natural disasters such as lightning, high winds, and earthquakes, when constructing a disaster plan,” Duston Nixon, marketing communications specialist for Minuteman, told TMCnet. “While these events usually take the forefront both in people’s minds and in the media, other less expected factors can lead to outages.”

Here are the top five unexpected events that can leave you and your business in the dark.

1.       Construction Accidents:

While it is possible that construction crews can unintentionally cut cables located underground or in walls while working, construction accidents that happen next door or even blocks away can also lead to downtime.

“Typical infrastructure means that an accident on one segment of the power grid can knock out the supply to an entire area, leaving businesses in the dark while crews work to repair the damage,” Nixon said.

2.       Animals:

Don’t underestimate the power of squirrels and beavers as these small critters can find their way onto and into utility and power equipment and cause power outages. Every year, squirrels, mice and other furry creatures lose their lives while simultaneously bringing down power for businesses. These types of problems can be difficult to track down, and often leave the lights off for hours while technicians investigate.

3.       Employee Sabotage:

“Disgruntled employees can wreak havoc, whether it is a current employee who is dissatisfied or a recently terminated person looking for revenge,” Nixon said. “There are an infinite number of ways a person can damage the power system, and the only way to prevent their efforts from being successful is to have a power protection system in place.”

4.       Utility Provider Error:

Mistakes or unexpected electrical usage can lead to provider errors which drop power to wide areas, according to Nixon. This summer, in the northeast, blackouts and brownouts happened frequently as high temperatures caused usage of the electrical grid to spike. The trouble with utility provider errors is that these events are impossible to predict, even when anomalies like extreme hot or cold weather conditions are expected.

5.       Traffic Accidents:

If even just one car leaves the roadway because of an accident, this can wreak havoc on the power system. Specifically, in 2009, there were more than 5.5 million car accidents in the United States – or one every 5.7 seconds. The close proximity of utility power equipment to roadways, particularly in cities, leaves business owners very vulnerable, Nixon said.

“The bottom line is that, no matter how much administrators believe they have a firm grasp on all the threats to their businesses, there are always unexpected things that can lead to a power outage,” Nixon said. “Building a comprehensive power protection system is a must for any company in today’s connected world, and fortunately it is easier and more cost-effective than ever to do so.”

Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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