S&C Electric: Survey Finds U.S. Business Taking Action on Electric Reliability

Jan. 23, 2018
Survey results released today by S&C Electric find that businesses are taking action to ensure electric reliability as the U.S. economy grapples with power outage costs of $79 billion per year.

Survey results released today by S&C Electric find that businesses are taking action to ensure electric reliability as the U.S. economy grapples with power outage costs of $79 billion per year.

Michael Edmonds, S&C Electric president – U.S. Business

The Chicago-based smart grid company surveyed 250 energy managers at commercial and industrial businesses across the U.S.  The results are compiled in a report, State of Commercial & Industrial Power Reliability.

Among the notable findings, 70 percent of those surveyed see power reliability as an existing cause for concern, and 40 percent would pay a premium to improve it.

This isn’t surprising given that 98 percent of the economic impact of U.S. outages is felt by business, according to the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“While research shows grid reliability is improving, the customer’s perspective isn’t always accounted for,” said Mike Edmonds, S&C president – U.S. Business. “What we learned through this research is that customers continue to see significant impacts from power outages, and they want to raise the bar for how power reliability is measured.”

The survey also found that:

  • 25 percent of companies experience power outages at least once a month
  • 86 percent of respondents have experienced at least one power outage in the last 12 months
  • 18 percent  of companies experienced a loss of more than $100,000 as a result of the worst outage

Many of the companies are seeking ways to improve electric reliability. In fact, 71 percent of those surveyed own or plan to develop alternative energy sources, supplementing their current provider’s generation and power reliability.

The companies surveyed average $4 billion in annual revenues. The responses came from key decision-makers who select electricity commodity suppliers across the manufacturing, data center, health care, small franchise, and education sectors. Their monthly energy consumption ranges from 10 MWh to well more than 50 MWh.

In addition to releasing the report, S&C Electric revealed its personal report card on averting power outages. The company says it helped utilities avoid more than 2.4 billion customer-outage minutes in 2017 via its grid-reliability solutions. S&C is among the lead companies offering microgrids, energy storage and grid technologies that reduce the duration and frequency of power outages.

“But our work isn’t done,” Edmonds said. “S&C’s latest research shows that outages continue to have a significant impact on utilities. As a company, we will continue to push the industry and regulation forward in an effort to reduce the significant economic impact of power outages worldwide.”

S&C is sharing the findings of its survey this week at the 2018 DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition in San Antonio.

Avoid a bad day and get back to business

The company also is highlighting several of its new innovations:

  • The S&C Microgrid Experience, a three-dimensional demonstration that allows visitors to better understand how an S&C microgrid brings together distributed energy resources, energy storage, and intelligence to keep the lights on for customers in a variety of situations, and how microgrid controls ensure an adaptable, cyber-secure system.
  • The new addition of an external trip feature to S&C’s IntelliRupter PulseCloser  Fault Interrupter. This new feature enables utilities to use S&C’s PulseClosing Technology instead of traditional reclosers in substations to protect expensive power transformers.
  • A next-generation overcurrent control for S&C’s Vista and Vista SD Underground Distribution Switchgear. This new control allows customers to easily program and access control data through the convenience of a Web browser and eliminates the need for routine maintenance.

“2017 has shined a spotlight on the impact power outages have on customers of all sizes. When we help a utility avoid a power outage or get the lights back on faster, we are helping people around the world avoid a bad day and get back to business,” Edmonds said.

Interested in learning how microgrids can achieve electric reliability for your businesses? Join us at Microgrid 2018.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

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