Preparing for Outages
There are plenty of things you can do to prepare for power outages. Here are a few tips on how to prepare, minimize disruptions and protect your equipment.
- Walk through a response plan with key employees to make sure you’re ready if your business loses power
- Locate your electrical supply panels and know how to shut off power
- Identify equipment power switches
- Make sure you and your staff have an outage plan for all critical equipment
- Maintain emergency lighting
- Create and maintain an emergency kit that includes the following items: flashlights, battery-powered radio, battery-powered clocks, emergency phone numbers, extra batteries, and bottled water if you rely on electricity to pump water
To report an outage, electrical emergency or to get updates, contact the El Paso Electric Trouble and Outage Line in Texas at (915) 877-3400 and in New Mexico at (575) 523-7591.
Outage Tips for Critical Equipment
Use the following pointers to protect valuable equipment.
Prior to an Outage
- Protect computers from power surges with good quality surge protectors
- Prevent data loss with automatic backup programs and battery backup systems
- Ensure electronic door locks can be bypassed manually
- On three-phase motors install single-phase protection and Transient Voltage Surge Suppression (TVSS)
- Have a non-electrical alternative as a backup for cash registers
- Ensure that emergency lighting is in good operating condition
During an Outage
- Turn motorized equipment off to reduce the electrical load when power is restored.
- Keep refrigerators and freezers closed to minimize thawing or spoiling (freezers, when full, can keep items frozen for about two days if unopened)
- Do not attempt to operate machinery if ventilation, safety or fire suppression systems are not working
What to do if the Power Goes Out
- Check for blown fuses or tripped circuits (if these are okay, check with neighboring businesses to see whether they are without power)
- Check for downed utility lines outside your facility and, if any are found, keep people away
- Turn off electrical equipment, especially machinery with motors, to reduce the electrical load when power is restored
- Listen to a battery-powered radio for updates on major storm outages
- Call El Paso Electric again if power is restored to neighboring businesses but not yours
- If your lights are very dim or too bright once power is restored, or if some equipment doesn’t operate properly, turn off the power at the service panel and call El Paso Electric
Consider Back-up Power
Does your business need a back-up power supply? Here’s how to decide.
- Identify critical business functions and equipment
- Estimate the financial impact from loss of power to those functions
- Weigh this cost against the expense of purchasing and installing a back-up power system