Power outages can happen at any time, affecting far too many Americans. According to a 2018 report from S&C Electric Company, 82% of all U.S. businesses experience an outage at least every two years and 24% of respondents experience an outage once a month or more.

The instability of the electric grid is driving a growing number of businesses to incorporate backup power, helping them to be more resilient, mitigate against financial losses, keep employees and customers safe, and provide vital services.

Businesses seeking safety and peace of mind should consider propane power generation. Propane is a stable, portable energy source that can help support Americans even when the grid goes down, ensuring continuity of operations. Plus, using propane helps reduce the strain on our fragile electric grid and the more diverse America’s energy mix is, the more reliable it is.

What impact can a power outage have on a business?

Power interruptions can cost American businesses as much as $150 billion per year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). And the same S&C Electric Company report, mentioned above, revealed that productivity loss and delays within service, deliveries, and production were the top two problems faced by businesses as a result of power outages.

Respondents also said that power outages can have a significant impact on the reputation of their business, but the types of impacts vary by building type and the industry. For example, a high-end hotel or restaurant is very sensitive to a damaged reputation.

How can businesses ensure a resilient building design? 

Many commercial buildings are required to provide backup power solutions to meet building codes (IFC and IBC) for life safety. Propane backup generators offer a great solution as they can be configured to service the most critical building loads, maintain full operation in the event of power failure, or help with peak-shaving and demand-response programs that provide additional revenue for building owners.

Propane-powered generators offer affordable resilience, nonstop operation, and peace of mind for commercial buildings of all kinds. These systems are designed to keep businesses running during the unexpected, protecting them from the damage a power outage can cause and reducing the magnitude or duration of a disruptive event to a business.

Propane standby power kicks in almost instantly (in as little as 10 seconds after a main power outage), so there’s no disruption in heating or cooling, lighting, refrigeration, or other critical systems. Additionally, propane generators can supply primary power in locations with no access to the electrical grid, or at times when cost or reliability make reliance on the grid impractical. For businesses that need to operate 24/7, there are units built to meet their needs. Propane prime power generators have lifecycles from 30,000 hours up to 40,000 hours.

How does propane compare with diesel as a backup power fuel?

While diesel has traditionally been chosen to power backup generators, the stability of diesel fuel presents a significant challenge. Diesel degrades overtime via oxidation, which can lead to maintenance issues. Plus, the need for either automatic fuel maintenance systems or manual operations increases the total ownership cost of the diesel system, a factor to include in the evaluation of fuel and equipment options.

Alternatively, propane doesn’t degrade or oxidize over time like diesel, so there’s no fuel maintenance issues with propane, which can be a major cost and operational benefit in backup power systems that either require or prefer on-site fuel storage.

Propane is an independent and highly portable energy source that can be stored on-site, providing energy resiliency to a business no matter where it’s located. Additionally, propane’s environmental profile is favorable compared to diesel, offering lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, particulate matter, and CO2 emissions. Most notably, data from the DOE shows 16% greater carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy for diesel compared with propane.

How can propane suppliers help businesses with preparedness?

Businesses using propane have the added benefit of support from their local propane supplier. For example, local propane suppliers can help businesses assess their energy needs and answer any questions they have about this energy source. They can also help with safety information and training, tailored refueling and delivery options, and more.

Local propane suppliers can also advise businesses on the possibility of combining a propane generator with a suite of propane appliances, providing businesses with whole-building standby protection at an affordable price. When critical systems, such as space heating and water heating, are fueled by propane, the standby generator can typically be downsized — and made more affordable — because it isn’t running power-hungry electrical heating appliances.

For more information, visit Propane.com/Generators.