Risk of power cuts: Over the weekend, the Meteorological Office issued a number of yellow weather alerts across the country. As well as warning of widespread thunderstorms, the Met Office warning highlighted that heavy showers were expected to cause difficult driving conditions, power cuts and flooding. 

Research carried out by UK Power, in August 2023, highlighted that power outages are something that the UK public is becoming increasingly familiar with. Whether caused by adverse weather, high energy demand, or failures within the electricity network, the data revealed that two-thirds of respondents had experienced a power cut in their local area, 23% experienced power cuts annually, and 4% experienced a loss of power every two to three weeks. The survey results also showed that power cuts last up to two and a half hours on average across the UK. 

The frequency and longevity of these incidents means the impact on households is undeniable – ranging from lack of phone and internet use, to being unable to use other electrical appliances, or losing food stored in freezers. For businesses operating in the affected areas, power outages can result in a loss of data, lost production and productivity, damage to sensitive machinery and equipment, lost sales, missed deadlines, and reputational damage. 

During the 2023/34 storms season, which runs from September ‘23  to August ‘24, the UK has already seen a number of named storms –  Agnes, Babet, Ciarán, Debi, Elin, Fergus and Gerrit in 2023, Henk, Isha and Jocelyn in Jan ‘24, and Kathleen in April. A storm will be named when it has the potential to cause disruption or damage which could result in an amber or red warning – both of which include the risk of power cuts. This weekend – the impact was widespread – with power cuts reported from Great Yarmouth to Weymouth. In Ruthin, a town in South Wales, an outage caused the Tesco store to lose thousands of pounds worth of stock. 

Paul Brickman, from Crestchic loadbanks, explains, “Even the briefest of power outages can have a catastrophic impact on businesses of all sizes. The UK is becoming more dependent on electricity, and networks, processes and value chains are becoming increasingly complex and interdependent. Add extreme weather events and the changing energy landscape into the mix, and having a power resilience plan is fast becoming a business necessity.” 

To reduce both the risk and impact of outages, Paul and the Crestchic team recommend that businesses have backup power systems in place – and that they regularly test these power systems to ensure that they will work effectively should an outage occur. 

Paul continues “A good testing regime involves using a loadbank to commission and test backup power systems. In the case of a generator, a loadbank should be used to apply a load to the equipment in controlled, non-emergency conditions. Doing this means we can test how the generator – and its fuel, exhaust, and cooling systems – will respond under emergency conditions. This is the only way to ensure that your business can continue to operate in the event of a power cut. And, with the frequency of outages on the rise, businesses should heed the warning, and ensure their backup power systems are in place, and working efficiently”. 

For more information on how to reduce the impact of power outages on your business operations, speak to our team.