Mitigating blackout risk

Keysource, the critical environment and datacentre specialist, is working with several clients to ensure that any of this winter’s threatened rolling blackouts do not affect vital services. It comes as it is revealed that during cold spells, across Europe, the UK government has crisis plans for a series of rolling three-hour power cuts, with regions of the UK taking it in turn to go dark. This is due to compounding issues around gas availability, a creaking aging grid, and the reliance on imported energy (i.e. Nuclear from France).

As a result, organisations are responding with increasing fuel storage, push on fuel delivery SLA’s, push on temporary generator hire contracts and small UPS systems across remote ‘edge’ network locations. Keysource has put together a list of suggestions for mitigate the risk of these outages:

•Ensure thorough maintenance of all critical power infrastructure by a specialist.

•Ensure any advised works from recent maintenance are reviewed and executed to reduce risk of downtime.

•Ensure black building testing is conducted, to test all equipment prior to a period of increased risk.

•Undertake Life cycle assessments of plant to ensure infrastructure is invested in, and in a supportable condition.

•Consider availability of Critical Spares onsite, to reduce Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)

•Review strategy around fuel supplies, ensure monitoring is in place, and systems topped up after use.

•Ensure fuel contracts are in place with SLA’s, and fuel consumption is considered based on current load conditions.

•Review your IT Asset Classification, and Strategy, to enable the shedding of load to prolong support from batteries and generators.

Richard Clifford, Head of Solutions at Keysource, said: “For the first time in many years the UK is facing the real threat of rolling blackouts as the demand for power outstrips availability. This is a huge concern for everyone but especially our clients who are delivering vital public services where any power interruptions could put lives at risk. We are working closely with them as part of our overall resilience strategy as we go into this uneasy and uncertain winter.”

“The risks are significant, and whilst we are living in unusual times, the likelihood is that the risk will persist at this time of year for the foreseeable future due to the lack of investment in new ‘onshore’ energy generation in the UK and the time it will take to get the next wave online. There is however a glimmer of hope which is the drive-in investment in onsite generation, through ‘green’ renewables, with clearer return on investments working towards the 2030 Net Zero target.”

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