Business continuity and the South African power supply crisis

We’ve all experienced load shedding in the past few months. You may have noticed messages on your TV indicating the national power infrastructure is under pressure, with a request to reduce household consumption by switching off geysers, heaters and pool pumps.

Whilst this may be a temporary solution, it indicates there’s a bigger issue – and the problem is not likely to go away. There’s simply not enough power for South Africa to cope with maintenance, peak demand, downtime and unforeseen problems like wet coal supply.

It’s possible to lessen the impact of load shedding by being prepared, but it’s not always possible to protect your power-sensitive business assets and devices such as PCs, servers and PABX systems.

Reality bites
In a Mail & Guardian article on the 24th of February 2015, Continuity SA CEO, Michael Davies, commented on the impact of load shedding on business. “We know load-shedding is going to happen and, in order to put mitigation strategies in place, we need to understand the implications,” says Davies. “What issues should businesses identify? Now’s a good time to update your continuity plans to assess the impact of load shedding on your business and weigh up your risk.”

In the same article, Davies commented further, “We don’t have an option – we all have to understand what this power crisis means for business and take appropriate action. Reviewing your business continuity plan is a good way to start.”

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A simple solution
Nashua now offers a comprehensive range of power solutions to cater for your business requirements. Our trained team of advisors can assess your business-critical power supply concerns with an integrated solution that will include full electrical reticulation, installation and technical support. After an initial assessment, our team will advise and propose a suitable system, which might include an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), surge protectors, voltage stabilisers and generators.

Nashua can offer your business a monthly rental option* to make the investment worthwhile, eliminating the need to budget upfront for Capex. This can also be neatly tailored to your unique business requirements.

*Monthly Rental options are subject to standard Credit application, and approval by Financial Services Providers.

Inverters vs Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) products
Technically, UPS products and inverters work in the same way, but inverters are built to provide backup electricity for fans, fridges, lights and general electrical components that aren’t power sensitive. UPS products are used to power computers, servers, and electrical equipment.

Both UPS products and inverters make use of an inversion process to convert battery power to 220/240Volt output.

In some instances, inverters are sold independently of other necessary components, and can only work effectively with the relevant battery or charger. A battery cabinet houses a number of batteries to run a UPS system for several hours, and should be installed by an electrician. Plug points and components that must remain active can be powered from the main or a sub distribution board.

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Simple inverter requires additional battery and charger
UPS products emit exact sine waves via microprocessors, but inverters produce what’s called a square wave (TPZi) waveform which uses less battery power for longer backups. There are some modern inverters that produce better wave form, but this isn’t true of most inverters.

An inverter isn’t considered safe for use with computer products or servers. UPS products have faster switching speeds than inverters. Inverters are made to support home appliances that use less power, and are less sensitive than computers.

Computers are highly sensitive to power disruptions, electrical spikes and lag. A TV uses an embedded chip for processing data, and is therefore also sensitive, but less so than a computer. Most UPS products have a noise/surge filter built in that protects the computer from a sudden change in power. UPSs are made according to strict IEC standards and switches must be within certain parameters, provided the topology is line interactive.

Furthermore, UPSs can usually correct frequency and voltage dips/peaks (within constraints) and will switch automatically to battery mode if the power is unacceptable.

For long run times, a standby generator along with a UPS is the most cost effective (hybrid) solution to power cuts. Extended run time from a UPS alone can be expensive due to battery cost.

Nashua has a strong and knowledgeable team of consultants who can provide you with accurate information and advice on the most suitable solution for your unique application.

UPS products are available for all applications from home and small office use, to large offices, server farms and factories. In many instances it may be necessary to apply hybrid technology that encompasses a UPS and generator.

Electrical Optimisation
Nashua pays great attention to the finer details. We advise on electrical optimisation when performing site assessments. The principle is to reduce the amount of electricity consumed and associated costs by deploying energy saving lighting systems wherever possible. LED lighting is an effective means to reduce electricity usage. This technology offers the benefit of extended life, compared to incandescent and fluorescent counterparts.

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Nashua’s approach to replacing your lighting with energy saving LED not only reduces your monthly power usage, but also reduces the size of the UPS or generator solution necessary to power your system. By replacing lighting, it’s possible to provide an effective UPS solution for seamless power to your business critical systems with little or no monthly cost implication whatsoever.

Nashua Generators
Nashua is manufacturer and vendor agnostic, which means we’re able to source the most effective power solutions for your individual business requirements. Nashua proudly seeks out the best products and prices to meet each client’s expectation, with no compromise on reliability or integrity.

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Nashua offers an end-to-end solution. Our team will conduct a site assessment, and ensure accuracy of information by way of a load test. Our proposal will take into consideration the delivery of a generator, including truck and crane costs. Our electrical team will perform the installation of the unit, and provide you with the necessary compliance certificate.

Nashua Hybrid Power Solutions
Since Nashua has a range of products and services, it’s possible for us to offer hybrid power solutions which include a combination of power products suited to your unique requirements and expectations. A UPS system can be used to ensure seamless business continuity for your computers, servers, PBX communications systems and servers, alongside a generator to provide power for an extended period during power cuts.

Nashua Power Finance
Nashua offers tailored finance solutions, such as rentals. This is off-balance sheet option negates the need for unnecessary Capex.


Black outs: Can your business survive load shedding?

What we know

  • We’ll be facing blackouts in the future. Load shedding stages/levels will be publically announced as they happen.
  • We’ll be facing power cuts for a minimum of 4-5 years ahead.
  • No clarity as to what we’ll be facing or when.

Evaluate your business continuity

  • Identify crucial components and systems within your business that need to be active when power cuts occur.
  • Calculate loss of productivity and evaluate profit loss should these crucial services be without power.
  • Calculate the monthly hours you’d have to pay staff, while they aren’t able to fulfill their duties.
  • Check the fine print on your business insurance with regards to surge protection against electronic equipment, and ensure you’re prepared.

Prepare yourself and mitigate risk

  • Let us meet with you to discuss your unique environment, and assess how best we’re able to assist you in making sure you have a seamless integration, with a backup solution.
  • We supply, fit and commission a large range of UPS, power inverters and generators, and Nashua will design a solution to meet your unique requirements.

Is it affordable?

  • Nashua offers various terms for power solutions, with exceptionally low premiums to fit your budget.
  • We design a customized solution to accommodate your business critical, and business comfort systems and applications.
  • Call Nashua for a no-obligation assessment and site evaluation. We’ll provide a cost effective solution to deliver the best result at the lowest cost.

Don’t be left in the dark.


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