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Blackouts and Brownouts ( continue reading to the bottom for the solution )

We all know that blackouts happen.  Depending on your jurisdiction, they may be frequent and even long lasting.  Some areas expect the power to go out on a daily basis.

Most of us, however, haven't  thought much about what a blackout costs us.  Sure, it's nice to get a bit of a break in the middle of the day, but consider the following :
  • at every blackout, some employee time is lost.  As we become more dependent on machines and electronics, the percentage of idle workers in a blackout tends towards 100%
  • every minute your machines aren't working costs you production, and production is where the revenue comes from
  • when your office people are idle, they aren't taking orders or making sales
  • some machines ( like computers ) need to be restarted after the power comes back on - this restart time adds to the losses
  • some equipment is damaged by unscheduled shutdowns
  • some equipment ( like plastics injectors or food processing equipment ) may have to be completely disassembled for cleaning or disinfecting after a blackout

The OPA ( Ontario Power Authority ) ( and probably other jurisdictions ) has been reducing the supplied electrical Voltage ( brownout ) as a means of coping with the current electrical shortages.  ( see here for a description of the problem ) .

In April of 2005, the voltage was decreased by 5%

In June of 2005, the voltage was decreased by a further 2%, and not restored until after August.

Since the lights only dimmed a very little , this was held to be an acceptable measure.

  • A 2% voltage reduction increases power losses by 7%
  • A 4% voltage reduction increases power losses by 14%
  • The 7% voltage reduction reduced energy efficiency by 24%
  • 1 kiloWatt required ( at the correct voltage ) becomes 1240 watts billed  ( at the incorrect voltage )
  • a 24% increase in your electricity invoice
  • Motors are designed for a specific voltage and current
  • As the voltage decreases the current must increase             ( Ohmís Law )
  • Higher current stresses the windings and adds heat
  • The Mean Time Between Failure ( MTBF ) can drop to 50% , necessitating more frequent replacemnts

So is there a solution ?

Yes, there actually is !

A Hybridyne Behind the Meter System ( BTM ) eliminates both blackout and brownouts.  Imagine a large Uninterruptable Power Supply ( UPS ) for your whole building ( or even one department or area, like a datacentre ).  Since the BTM is actually powering the building, the load is not actually connected directly to the grid any more.  When the grid goes down, the load is still carried by the BTM.  If the voltage fluctuates, the building doesn't 'notice' because it is still getting its power from the BTM.

  • What would it be worth to your bottom line to not have idle employees during blackouts ?
  • How much would you save if you didn't have to replace motors and other equpment as often ?
  • How much productivity are blackouts costing you when you have to clean or repair equipment afterward ?