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Data centres urged to re-evaluate contingency plans for unplanned power outages

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Aggreko, a major supplier of temporary power generation equipment, is urging data centres to assess their contingency plans to see whether they could weather any major power outages. The message comes as the company discovered that 25% of UK energy decision makers do not have a contingency plan in place. 

According to research commissioned by Aggreko, of the more than 200 UK energy decision makers that were surveyed, 82% described power continuity as a major or significant concern. While that’s unsurprising considering data centres are a key piece of infrastructure, the company was shocked to find that so many firms didn’t have a plan in place in case of an outage. 

Aggreko noted that in the midst of power irregularity and ageing equipment across the UK, data centres are increasingly at risk of system downtime. The company went further than just to urge those without a plan to put one in place, however, with the firm also urging those with contingencies in place to ensure they’re up to date. 

As well as regular checks, Aggreko is urging those responsible to consider how effective they would be in a time of crisis. Chris Rason, UK managing director of Aggreko, explained, “There are a number of considerations which UK industry must check when it comes to implementing a contingency plan that works. Whether it’s checking the accessibility of the site or whether the connection requirements for cabling or pipework modifications are compatible with the replacement items, the contingency plan needs thorough planning for it to be effective.”

Aggreko has highlighted six key considerations of a contingency plan that UK industry needs to be aware of. Detailed in its latest industry report Planning for failure: How robust is your contingency plan?, Aggreko has created a guide to ensure decision makers have all the information they need when it comes to planning for an emergency outage.

Aggreko Report

Chris Rason continued, “We have seen a growing number of headlines about the fragility of the national grid and many companies appear ill-prepared for the impact. Whether it is the recent power outage experienced across London and the surrounding areas, or the fluctuating climate causing coolers to fail, UK industry cannot afford to sit back and wait for things to improve.”

“Implementing a contingency plan has a number of benefits, in addition to reassurance and protecting reputations. Unfortunately, when something happens which causes downtime, there are a number of suppliers who will look to inflate their costs, so ensuring that your contingency plan includes a fixed rate for replacement power should be essential.”

Additional benefits, according to the report, include the possibility of reduced insurance premiums, as well as immediate activation. If a thorough site survey is undertaken as part of the contingency service, suppliers can immediately activate the plan with the full knowledge of building infrastructure and cost approvals.

Chris Rason concluded, “Unfortunately, power outages and equipment failure is becoming a common occurrence and as a result, companies must think seriously about their current plans. Running the risk of losing power is unthinkable and avoidable and we hope that our report helps to answer some of the questions companies may have about contingency plans.”

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