It was August of 2003, it was hot, people were enjoying their air-conditioned homes trying to beat the heat, when suddenly, the power went out. The outage lasted for two days, making it the largest blackout in human history. Over 50 million people were affected spanning from Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Michigan and even parts of Ontario.
While most power failures last only a few hours, some blackouts can last days or even weeks, completely shutting down production at companies and critical infrastructures.
A loss in refrigeration or climate control can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in product waste that can no longer be guaranteed safe for consumption. Food bacteria grows most rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, doubling in as little as 20 minutes. According to the USDA, refrigerators keep food safe for up to 4 hours, while freezers can hold a safe temperature for up to 48 hours when full. For some dairy companies, a brief loss of power could result in the plant shutting down for up to 12 hours to clean and re-sterilize equipment.
For medical institutions, monitoring temperature amidst a failing power grid is extremely important. If power fails, many medications and lifesaving vaccines that must be stored at certain temperatures will quickly expire without the proper temperature control. The CDC warns that medications stored in the refrigerator should be thrown out in the event of a power outage that lasts for a day or more. Healthcare organizations face average costs of $690,000 per outage, according to a Ponemon Institute/ Emerson Network Power report. Add in the potential of lost life and that cost is immeasurable.
According to Microgrid Knowledge, E Energy consultant E Source found eight key U.S. market segments forfeit about $27 billion per year due to power outages. The E Source report found that manufacturers tend to suffer the most from long outages. Manufacturing industry also faces significant losses during short outages and power quality disturbances. If a car manufacturer produces 1,200 cars per day worth $50,000 each, that means one day of lost production is equivalent to about $60 million.
Our aging power infrastructure, combined with a growing population, and more frequent and extreme weather, means that more major blackouts or brownouts are inevitable. The best thing business owners and operators can do to prevent loss in these situations is prepare.
For more information about which data loggers can help you protect and monitor your business, industry, products, or services, visit us on the web at madgetech.com or call us at (603) 456-2011.