Practical Guide for Emergency Power Planning

Your practical guide to restoring electric power and protecting your business during utility outages.

When the power goes down, you want it back – fast. Preparation for power failure is a must, and a contingency plan is an essential tool. With a solid contingency plan in place, you’ll know what to do and whom to call to restore your power as soon as possible, to keep your business functioning and your revenue stream flowing.

This Emergency Power Planner will guide you and your team through the basic steps of building a contingency plan. The checklist format will help you cover the key elements quickly and easily. To fill in the details, consult with an established supplier of rental power equipment, supplies and service. Sooner or later power outages affect everyone. Don’t wait for the inevitable to happen. The time to plan for emergency power systems is now, and Thompson Power Systems is ready to assist you. Here’s an overview of the step by step process to restoring electric power during utility outages:

  1. Determine Your Power Requirements
  2. Plan for the Logistics of Delivery and Operation
  3. Select Appropriate Generator Set Features
  4. Identify Required Ancillary Equipment and Accessories
  5. Choose Your Rental Generator Supplier
  6. Provide for Fueling
  7. Conduct a Dry Run
  8. Designate Emergency Personnel

Step 1: Determine your power source requirements

In a utility outage, you can provide power for your entire facility and equipment, or for critical loads only. Your emergency power systems target only life-safety equipment required by code. After that, you must choose which loads are critical and which are not:

  • Production machinery
  • Computers and servers
  • Process controls
  • Plant and office lighting
  • Heating, ventilating, air conditioning
  • Compressed air systems
  • Pumps
  • Other

Step 2: Plan for the logistics of delivery and operation

Your equipment supplier must be able to deliver and park the generator set, so that it is easily accessible for connecting, operating, servicing and fueling. Planning considerations must include:

  • Identification of connection points
  • Environmentally sound location away from drains, work
  • areas and residences
  • Designated access route for delivery
  • Location with adequate surrounding open space
  • Opening for cable access to the building
  • Location away from traffic, trees and obstructions
  • Planned route for cable inside the building
  • Level, paved area for parking
  • Security fencing

Step 3: Select appropriate generator set features

Choose from a variety of features to suit your site’s specific requirements, including:

  • Sound attenuation: Ask for ratings below 92 db(A) at full load. Ratings as low as 70-72 db(A) are available.
  • Auto start-stop capability: Automatically starts a rental unit if a standby unit goes down.
  • Vertical radiator and exhaust discharge: Directs discharges up and away from buildings and people. Important in populated or high-traffic areas.
  • Electronic governor: Necessary for critical loads that cannot tolerate frequency fluctuation (computers, motor-driven equipment, machines backed by UPS).
  • Charging alternator: Ensures that batteries are charging when the unit is operating.
  • Sight gauges: Simplify monitoring of fuel and critical fluid levels.
  • Security features: Lockable doors, interior-mounted oil/water drains, and hidden exterior fuel drains help prevent tampering.
  • Distribution panel labeling: Helps inexperienced operators safely identify output voltages.
  • Output bus bars: Spacing of bus bars for multiple output cable hookups allows one generator set to run several loads.
  • Fuel priming pump: Facilitates startups after transport.
  • EPA and local emissions certifications: Ensures compliance with emissions regulations.

Step 4: Identify required ancillary equipment and accessories

Your installation may require a variety of accessory equipment. Consider whether you need any of the items listed below. If so, determine the required quantities.

  • Cable
  • Switchgear
  • Controls
  • Circuit breakers
  • Transformers
  • Load banks
  • Bus bars
  • Fuses
  • Outlets
  • Spider boxes
  • Cable ramps
  • Other

Step 5: Choose your rental generator set supplier

To implement a successful plan, look for a power system rental dealership that offers the following qualifications and capabilities:

  • Well-maintained and pre-tested equipment
  • Rental units in-stock that meet your load requirements
  • Modern, emissions-compliant equipment designed for rental use
  • Complete ancillary equipment in-stock
  • Ability to deliver to meet your time constraints
  • Quick, efficient delivery and pickup
  • Fast installation
  • Spare parts inventory in-stock
  • Staff qualified to deliver turnkey service and technical support
  • Experience in your industry
  • Capability to train your staff
  • Flexible financial options that include weekly and monthly rental contracts; Rental Purchase Option
  • Pre-approved credit arrangements.
  • 24-hour response including weekends and holidays.

Step 6: Provide for fueling

A reliable fuel supply is essential for emergency power systems operation. You should arrange for fuel service in advance, ideally through your rental equipment supplier, or through another source if necessary. Considerations include:

  • Tank capacity: Determine the fuel consumption rate of the generator set. The unit should be able to operate for at least eight hours between refuelings.
  • Auxiliary fuel: Having an auxiliary fuel tank enables longer runs between refuelings.
  • Delivery access: Make sure you can provide a clear and easily navigable access route for fuel delivery vehicles.
  • Spill containment: Regulations typically require containment equal to the tank capacity.
  • Credit approval: Prior credit approval from the fuel supplier is essential to keep emergency operations on track.

Step 7: Conduct a dry run

Practice makes perfect. If you want your plan to work in a real emergency, you must practice its execution beforehand. Stage a drill in which your team and, ideally, your equipment supplier run through the plan step by step, just as if an emergency were really happening.

  • Make sure that each person fully understands his or her role in the event of an actual power outage.
  • Estimate how long it takes from the time the power fails until your emergency power system is online.
  • Verify the voltage from the transformer breakdown. Knowing the voltage from the transformer breakdown is essential to the safety of people around the generator and will allow the service provider to fit the generator with the right size connections.

Step 8: Designate emergency personnel

Make a list of the key emergency contacts who will be in charge during outages. Make this list accessible to your team members and keep it up-to-date. Be sure to include a primary contact and alternate for each of the following job functions:

  • In-house operations / maintenance
  • Electric utility representative
  • Generator set operation
  • Rental equipment representative
  • Electrical engineer or contractor
  • IT, security, data recovery
  • Generator set hookup
  • Fuel supplier

Weather the Storm With Thompson Rental Equipment

We can’t always predict the timing of natural disasters or manmade events, but we can plan for them. Including Thompson Power Systems in your comprehensive business continuity or contingency plan can ensure that when the worst happens, you and your organization will respond in an organized disciplined way.

Thompson Power Systems can help you plan and prepare for any of the following:

  • Natural disasters
  • Plant shutdowns
  • Unexpected outages
  • Mechanical failures

For the past decade or more, at least one large-scale disaster has occurred somewhere in the world every year. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides, floods, fires – cataclysmic events have become a mainstay of the media.

Our product line is designed to support your most critical operating systems and includes temperature control, compressed air, and of course, the electric power products you’ve come to rely on. Nothing is more vital to a smooth-running rental experience than knowledgeable, experienced professionals. From engineering to installation, Thompson Power Systems products are supported by some of the best factory-trained sales, product support and engineering staff in the world.

When Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10, Hurricane Michael was the fourth-strongest hurricane on record to hit the contiguous United States, attaining peak winds of 155 mph. Learn about using local power systems in Florida and how customers rely on Thompson Power Systems rental generators to provide spot generation in the wake of disaster.


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