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Frequently Asked Questions

In order to decipher if your company is suffering from power issues, you need somewhere to start. SPGS has worked in a variety of industries and helped businesses of all kinds in power disturbances. We've prepared a list of frequently asked questions to answer any potential first round questions you may have. Contact us if you don't see your question below and we'd be happy to guide you through it. 

What is a power disturbance?

A power disturbance can be many things. You may have a power disturbance on your hands if you experience random equipment failures, flickering lights, frozen computer monitors, non-scheduled equipment restarts, static shocks, major equipment outages, or failures during or after lightning strikes and power surges.

Read up on more industry terms to better understand your electrical problem. 

 

What causes electrical equipment to fail?

We know an electrical outage always comes at the wrong time. These are often caused by power disturbance issues such as total or partial loss of utility power, building protection, equipment protection, power quality, bonding and grounding.

However, at times, external components are the source of electrical equipment failure.  To get an accurate diagnosis of your power malfunction, give us a call and we'll be happy to help. 

 

What is the typical process to restore failed electrical equipment?

Safety is paramount at your facility. When any electrical equipment fails, the process is to restore, repair, or replace the equipment. SPGS calls this restoration process the RRR method.

If you think your electrical equipment has a short, power disturbance, or something else remember it is critical to have the machinery tested by professionals to reduce potential shock hazards.  

How can I go about restoring failed electrical equipment?

The best advice we can give you is to take preventive measures against failed electrical equipment. We want to stop the problem before it happens.

Learn more about SPGS Services here and see how we can get your company huge savings and prevent downtime outages.

 

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How often do utility power companies deliver power to the average consumer?

Utility power companies deliver power on an average of 99.35-99.5% of the time. Over the course of a year, the power will go off at random for 44-57 hours.

What percentage of power disturbance problems do utility companies cause?

Many studies have shed light on power disturbance problems and have found that utility companies cause about 20% of them.

If utility companies cause 20%, what causes the other 80% of power disturbance problems?

Utility companies aren’t the only source for power disturbances. Your facility’s own electrical power infrastructure contributes to the remaining percentage of power disturbance problems.

How much downtime does this 80% of internal power disturbance cost my company?

Downtime costs add up, we get that. This downtime could mean as much as 176-228 additional hours of power disturbances. Many different factors need to be calculated to reflect the actual affect these power disturbance hours have of productivity and production at each facility.

How much money is lost every year from power disturbances from the utility company and each facility?

Unfortunately, we don’t have real cost data to portray a dollar value. However, your company’s loss has a variety of factors that play into the outcome.

    • What type of outage
    • Time of outage
    • Equipment damages from the outage
    • Percent of facility effected from the outage

Your facility’s history also plays into the overcall loss. It wouldn't be unusual for typical power disturbance costs to be 0.5%-5.0% of all labor cost, overhead cost, production cost, or sales revenue per year.

From case histories of SPGS’s customers, the average power disturbance percentage cost seems to be 1.5%-3.5% of all labor cost, overhead cost, production cost or sales revenue per year. Read up on our case studies and see the SPGS methods to prevent loss and lower spending.

As a facility manager, what do I need to do to learn more about downtime and how to solve it?

Take action! Be it preventive or repair - it’s up to you to contact SPGS and save yourself liability and downtime. Review our services and training courses to see how we can improve your facility’s daily function and overall longevity.

Learn about the purpose of grounding, ground rods, and types of grounding designs that can improve downtime with the help of SPGS professionals. 

What type of equipment is considered voltage susceptible?

As times change, we become more and more dependent on technology. Extremely voltage-sensitive equipment could be:

    • Computers
    • Communication and switching equipment or
    • Any other equipment incorporating semiconductors
    • Networked equipment
    • Copiers
    • Printers
    • Computer-controlled production equipment

This equipment isn’t cheap - make sure it’s protected against power disturbances and surges. We give you a straightforward plan and training for better functioning equipment and assurance to pass inspections.

To have the precise maximum allowable voltage that equipment can withstand without damage or upset, check out this information on equipment voltage surge thresholds.

 

If our facility meets the National Electric Code, is our equipment protected?

Not necessarily. The National Electric Code specifications provide only the minimal acceptable safeguard for personnel and property. We’ve provided language from the code to help you understand the requirements more easily:

"CODE 90-1 Purpose...Section "C"

Adequacy. This code contains provisions considered necessary for safety. Compliance therewith and proper maintenance will result in an installation essentially free from hazard, but not necessarily efficient, convenient, or adequate for good service or future expansion of electrical use.

Intention. This Code is not intended as a design specification nor instruction manual for untrained persons.

How can I recognize power quality problems?

The signs of power issues can be easily overlooked. something as simple as a flickering light may be the result of a dangerous problem. What appears to be chronic hardware or software problems can actually be masked as power/grounding problems. Stay alert for the signs indicating power quality problems:

    • Increased service calls
    • Poor equipment performance
    • Partial equipment failure
    • Equipment "ghost" problems
    • Repetitive downtime
    • Failures caused by building event
    • Shortened equipment life
    • Downtime and performance problems during/after bad weather and storms

How do I solve a power quality issue? 

Contact us at SPGS. We're here to assist you and discuss the problem at hand. We come identify, verify, and implement solutions based on your company and your unique situation. This is done through a system and audit evaluation.

SPGS uses a 5-Point Approach to solve power and grounding quality control issues, and to assure quality power in the future:

    1. Evaluate 
    2. Report
    3. Make the alterations
    4. Install
    5. Maintain quality

What is Holistic Electrical Facility Protection?

There are multiple layers of electrical protection and different Grounding System designs, but the purpose is the same: protect the entire facility against electrical power disturbances and verify proper bonding and grounding of all metallic objects and sensitive devices within, near, or connected to the facility.

It is an inherent system intended to protect personnel and equipment within, near, or connected to a building against:

    • Lightning surges
    • Power surges
    • Power faults
    • Transient voltage
    • Ground faults

Get expert insight from SPGS with our Grounding Training Course

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