What Hotels Need to Know About Preparing for Summer Blackouts
By Herve Tardy VP & GM, Distributed Power Infrastructure Division (Americas), Eaton | July 14, 2019
The dog days of summer are here. As hotels continue to welcome guests during the busy vacation season, it can be easy to forget that the warmer weather also brings with it an array of threats to their power systems. These threats create a range of risks that intensify in both scope and magnitude during the summer.
Over the past decade, the Eaton Blackout Tracker has logged more outages in June, July and August than any other months of the year. Between 2008-2017, data showed that more than 36 percent of all U.S. power outages occur during the summer months. The total number of summer outages has steadily grown, from 1,005 events tallied in 2012, to 1,457 captured in 2016-a 45 percent increase. Every summer, nearly 4 million people are affected by blackouts that collectively encompass almost 30,000 hours-that's 125 days.
Below is an overview of some of summertime's greatest threats, and steps hotel leaders and their IT teams can take to protect their systems and keep things up-and-running.
Assessing Summer's Greatest Threats
Many hotels depend on summer dollars to operate throughout the remainder of the calendar year. This makes the hazards outlined below all the more catastrophic.
- Hurricanes – Considered to be the most violent storms on Earth, hurricanes can result in whipping winds, torrential downpours and floods that create a perfect recipe for power outages.
- Thunderstorms – The two biggest threats associated with this weather condition are lightning-which can strike 10-15 miles away even under clear skies-and flash floods, both of which are common sources of power outages.
- Monsoons – Monsoons occur during the summer months and can be defined as a regional circulation pattern in the atmosphere that brings humidity of moisture to areas that otherwise are very dry. It is quite common for the stormy weather to leave power outages in its wake.
- Flooding – Summertime's plethora of wild weather-including hurricanes, thunderstorms and monsoons-make the season susceptible to floods, which can cause damage to both above-ground and underground electrical equipment.
- Wildfires – Triple-digit temperatures and hot, gusty winds have repeatedly been a recipe for disaster, leading to rapidly spreading wildfires that caused days-long blackouts for some residents.
- Excessive Heat – There's a reason power always seems to go off on the hottest days of summer-and naturally, takes down air conditioners with it. Chalk it up to a chain reaction that occurs on the heat-sensitive power grid.
- Animals – Yes, animals! Our four-legged friends are responsible for initiating hundreds of power outages every year, with animal antics escalating in the summer months.
- Vehicles – With summer being the most popular season for vacations, there are always more people on the road-and that translates to an increase in the number of power outages due to crashes and tragic mishaps.