Tips to Prepare for an Outage

February 01, 2017

When a business’ operations are halted or severely reduced by outside factors, the loss of revenue can create a situation that is difficult or impossible to overcome. We understand how high the stakes are—the suspension of services could send even the most loyal customers looking elsewhere. While insurance may cover some losses, it will not keep you on your feet in the midst of the crisis like Foster Fuels will. Minimizing the damage requires implementing a reliable strategy, which involves weighing the possible risks and putting a business continuity plan in place to ensure systems remain operational.

The most common risk for any business is man-made or natural disasters that lead to power outages. No company can function very long without lights, computers, and support or manufacturing equipment. Some small brick-and-mortar companies may squeak by for a day or two by simply locking the doors and waiting for the utility companies to come to the rescue. But that is not an option for larger companies who rely on centralized networks, telephony systems, and web-based technologies. We’ve seen time and again that the best protection against power loss is a backup generator run on quality fuel that will kick in automatically when the external grid fails.

However, many organizations assume that just because they have a generator, their fuel is fine. Working with our fuel quality division ensures that when you switch to alternate power, the transition between sources is smooth. Follow these tips to make the most of that power source and avoid costly downtime.

Evaluate Risk

The first step in forming a business continuity plan is identifying the critical loads the company requires. We recommend defining a value to prioritize each phase of operations that would be affected by power interruption, loss of production, or idle time. Regular interruptions of even a few seconds can disrupt systems and workflow, leading to precious time lost. While some options such as batteries can help, a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) can only power a computer for approximately 10 minutes. Uninterruptible Power Supplies cost more per wattage produced, and in the event power stays out, they cannot be easily refueled the way a generator can.

Properly Size, Locate, and Maintain the Standby Generator

It is critical to have a generator that will meet all essential needs, and that it be placed in a convenient but secure location. Backup generator installations must meet local electrical, fire, and building codes for safety and environmental concerns. Technicians can help to determine the model needed to meet the demand of your crucial loads and also have the knowledge to correctly install it.

Regular fuel maintenance and testing are key to ensuring you have the necessary fuel during an emergency. Fuel additives, fuel polishing, and regular tank maintenance can ensure that your generators are functioning properly in the event of a mission critical situation. Like many businesses relying on fuel every day, the storage tanks in your fleet are a large investment. And the equipment that runs off of the fuel housed in those tanks represents an even greater investment. So, if you neglect having your tanks properly and regularly cleaned you may be compromising your equipment.

Plan for Adequate Fuel Storage

Diesel fuel contains about 14 percent more energy than gasoline of the same volume. With this  relatively high energy output, diesel fuel requires less storage space. But still, having an adequate supply of fuel—one that can last for several days at the least— is critical during widespread outages such as those caused by major storms. Foster Fuels can provide emergency refueling services to keep your generators running 24/7 and help you avoid costly downtime

Continue Proper Maintenance and Testing

Electrical and safety codes require that generators are regularly exercised, usually on a weekly basis, to ensure they will work as an integral part of any business continuity plan. Proper maintenance and servicing from trained professionals are important to guaranteeing the best performance from a generator.

Additionally, regular fuel maintenance and testing are key to ensuring you have the necessary fuel during an emergency. Our fuel quality division offers several services to help you maintain quality fuel, including:

  • Fuel Testing and Analysis High quality fuel is essential to keeping your equipment running during a mission critical event. Otherwise, emergency use may create business continuity issues.
  • Fuel Polishing Major refiners say that fuel begins to degrade significantly after only 6 months. Fortunately, fuel polishing can reverse that degradation and save you from costly downtime and expensive damage to your equipment.
  • Fuel Additives Fuel additives can solve or prevent a variety of quality issues with modern fuels. When used correctly, appropriate additives can increase fuel efficiency, disperse water or particulates in your tank, counteract microbial growth in your tank, and stabilize your fuel for long-term storage.
  • Tank Cleaning and Maintenance Fuel tanks require careful cleaning. Contaminants enter your tank from a variety of sources, so you want to clean them out regularly. While certain levels of contaminants are accepted from pipelines, refineries, and distributors, over time, these small levels of contaminants can lead to big problems—including mold growth.

Make sure you are prepared for whenever your organization faces an incident. The quality of your fuel will directly impact your uptime. Foster Fuels has a fleet of trucks and Hazmat-trained drivers guaranteed to arrive promptly in even the worst weather. We provide fuel to industries of all kinds and all sizes when they need it most. We understand that backup power supplies are critical to successful business continuity and can provide the needed fuel at any time.

prepare for a mission critical situation
We can help

Contact us

What Our Customers Think
  • David Schirmacher / Sr. Vice President, Portfolio Operations, Digital Realty
    As a result of our strategic partnership and the collaboration of our teams, we are pleased to report that all sited impacted maintained 100% uptime throughout the duration of the event as we successfully supported over 9 megawatts of critical load. Our success is a direct result of your team's coordination and perseverance in the face of extremely difficult and unpredictable conditions.
  • Dilek Samil / President and COO, Cleco Power
    Cleco genuinely appreciates your support and partnership during our recovery effort. We consider you a critical part of Cleco's storm team, and, as I've told my team many times, nobody does it better.
  • John Formet / Sr FEMA Region IV Logistics Accountable Property Manager
    In my short time with FEMA and working seven major disasters, I have never worked with any contracting team that was more professional and such a pleasure to work with.
  • 1Lt Travis Michelena / JLC, Haiti
    I am deeply appreciative of the hard work and professionalism of Foster Fuels. We were sad to see you go, and hope to work with you again in the future.
  • Matt Ott / CDR, SC, USN
    Foster Fuels was able to quickly mobilize all heavy equipment, men, and materials and integrate quickly upon arriving into Haiti's chaotic conditions.
  • Giovanni Tuck / Brigadier General, USAF Commander
    Your herculean effort and dedication has helped millions of Americans during this devastating period. Your leadership on the ground and swift response to DLA Energy, FEMA, and state and local governments was critical the mission success.
Read More Testimonials