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Recurring Power Outages Causing Damage to Technology for Utility Customers in Florida


Recurring Power Outages Causing Damage to Technology for Utility Customers in Florida

August 02, 2019

  By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director

Some TECO Energy customers in the Tampa, Florida area have had enough of the recurring power outages they have been experiencing for the past several months.  Residents in the K-Bar Ranch communities in Tampa are complaining about several outages each week, even in the best weather conditions.  

The outages last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute, and several residents say they have lost appliances and electronics due to the recurring outages.  TECO says nine or ten such outages a year would be considered normal, but based on reports, customers in the area are experiencing much more frequent issues, causing them to wonder why TECO hasn’t addressed the problem faster.

TECO says it has identified the source of the problem and has started replacing switchgears – used to control power supplies and protect electrical equipment – though it says there are more to be replaced before the issue is completely resolved.

The utility also claims the loss of customer appliances and electronics was not caused by surges, but customers claim each time, the damage coincided with outage bursts.

This is an example of why sensitive technology must be protected from any power irregularities.  The circuits in modern technology are designed to operate under specific electrical loads, and when power fluctuates either up or down, the circuits can become overloaded and break, causing the equipment to fail.  Such fluctuations often happen during outages, but can also happen at any other time.

For businesses, this could cause significant disruptions in workflows if any of their critical systems are taken offline.  SMBs, in particular, typically have very small IT teams.  Sometimes, it’s only a single IT person, and many outsource all of their IT to managed services providers.  Between the lack of IT expertise and budget, it can take days, weeks, or even longer for damaged equipment to be repaired or replaced.  Anyone who’s been through such an incident knows how challenging it can be to replace equipment and restore software, applications, storage, and other essential systems – let alone the cost.  In the mean time, business limps along as best it can, but depending on the nature of the damage, it can be devastating.

The answer lies in power protection systems.  While SMBs don’t have large IT budgets, power protection systems can be designed to meet the needs of any business – small or large – to protect the most critical assets and ensure dirty power doesn’t ruin an operation.  These systems regulate line voltage as it enters the business, ensuring that power running to servers, switches, and other technology meets approved standards.  A business can deal with a few seconds of power loss – even several hours or days.  But, dealing with the expense and downtime when technology is damaged much harder to overcome.

Edited by Erik Linask
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