What can you do if the planned power outages turn the lights off in your state

Planned power outage powerline photo

If planned power outage sounds like an irrelevant phrase, think of this: you get up and find out that your phone’s battery is dead and can’t be charged, schools are closed so kids need to stay at home, and you can’t check your work emails from your laptop since internet is not working without electricity.

Beyond these simple activities, planned power outages put the more critical elements of our lives including healthcare facilities and airports at risk; if these facilities don’t have emergency back-up power.

What are planned power outages?

Planned power outages are deliberate decisions made by electric utility companies to cut the power supply to residents and businesses. Most electric utility companies periodically announce planned power outages to conduct maintenance within the electricity infrastructure. These short outages could impact small groups of customers and are nothing more than a simple inconvenience for most of us.

On the other hand, for over two and a half million Californians that are at risk of losing power for hours to days, planned power outages are not simple inconveniences anymore.

Recent planned power outages in California are not for maintenance purposes, instead they aim to reduce wildfires and associated risk to lives and property. This method got increased traction after the Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise, California, and killed 85 people in November 2018. The Camp Fire and several other wildfires are considered to be caused by trees hitting the power lines or by faulty transmission lines.Planned power outage wildfire map

Could your state experience extended planned power outages?

Yes, if you live in a state with a high risk of wildfires. The wildfires can threaten lives and property, making residents more prone to experiencing extended planned power outages. Within the U.S., residents of western and southern states face a higher risk of experiencing these extended planned power outages due to higher occurrences of wildfires in these states.

Preparedness is key to protecting your family during a planned power outage

Here are the preparation tips if you live in an area that could be impacted by planned power outages for an extended period.

  • Sign up for updates via phone, text, email and/or social media to be aware of latest developments.
  • Take an inventory of household items that rely on electricity.
  • Plan for any medical needs – like power-dependent medical devices or medications that need to be refrigerated.
  • For peace of mind and no power interruption, consider purchasing a whole house generator. A whole house generator like the Cummins QuietConnect will automatically restore your power the moment it goes off.

If you are interested in a more detailed list, check out What to Do Before, During and After a Power Outage. For more preparedness tips and to get valuable resources, consider signing up for the Cummins Home Generators newsletter

Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Cummins jointly presents Diesel Technology Forum webinars with stationary engine manufacturers

Two webinars recently hosted by the Diesel Technology Forum brought local legislators closer to the work that engine manufacturers do and addressed the challenges associated with air permitting of stationary engines.

Michael Sanford, Cummins Technical Marketing Specialist
Michael Sanford, Cummins Technical Marketing Specialist

The webinars were a two-part series and recordings are available at dieselforum.org: Power Generation 101: Technology Choice in Emergency Backup and Prime Power and Power Generation 201: Industry Perspectives on Regulations and Requirements for Standby and Prime Power Generation. State and local legislators, authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) and local air regulatory boards who are working on establishing air permit requirements for stationary engines are encouraged to review the recordings to gain insights from stationary engine manufacturers that allow communities the power of choice to meet their desired outcomes. Michael Sanford, Technical Marketing Specialist at Cummins, co-presented the webinars along with representatives from CAT and MTU Onsite Energy.

Sanford pointed to the approach of this message, which came from several major engine manufacturers, and how this demonstrated the widespread impact that local requirements have on manufacturers without regard to the color of their engine. Many local legislators who attended the live webinars expressed interest in further understanding the work that manufacturers do, and asked questions to better understand the federal requirements, too.

“We encouraged attendees to be thoughtful in the work they are doing to develop new emissions requirements at a local level, and to also work closely with engine manufacturers throughout the permitting process.” Sanford said. “We also wanted to highlight the immense amount of work that Cummins and other manufacturers do in order to demonstrate compliance with the EPA and how our current testing should satisfy local requirements in most cases.”

The Diesel Technology Forum brings together a variety of stakeholders from manufacturers, suppliers, government officials, diesel users and the public to raise awareness of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Members include OEMs, suppliers, fuel refiners and device manufacturers.

For more information on upcoming webinars and other continuing education programs from Cummins, visit cummins.com.
 

Adam Sidders Marketing Communications Leader Power Systems

Adam Sidders

Adam Sidders is the Marketing Communications Leader for the Power Systems Business Unit of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2012 Adam worked in Financial Services for Europe’s largest independently owned insurer as their Marketing and Communications Manager. adam.sidders@cummins.com

City saves money with double-duty standby generator set from Cummins

City of Wayzata

The village of Wayzata enjoys a picturesque location on the northeastern shore of beautiful Lake Minnetonka, west of Minneapolis, Minnesota (U.S.A). Like most towns it has a sewer system with lift stations to carry wastewater to treatment facilities. Unlike most towns, it also has a municipally owned restaurant and liquor store, known affectionately to the locals as The Muni. These city entities share an innovative solution for standby power.

When town officials met with Cummins to develop a standby power plan for their expanded wastewater system with larger lift stations, it was determined that a 150 kW model was the best fit for the lift station’s 125 kW power needs.

Inventive thinking on the part of city staff led to the realization that the extra 25 kW of capacity could be put to good use providing standby power for the coolers and cash registers at the city’s restaurant and wine shop, since The Muni was located close to the site of the new lift station. Cummins sales engineer Doug Abrahamson worked with city engineering staff to develop the detailed 60-page design specifications for the novel double-duty backup system.

Read more on the Wayzata case study at cummins.com. 
 

Adam Sidders Marketing Communications Leader Power Systems

Adam Sidders

Adam Sidders is the Marketing Communications Leader for the Power Systems Business Unit of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2012 Adam worked in Financial Services for Europe’s largest independently owned insurer as their Marketing and Communications Manager. adam.sidders@cummins.com

Cummins Power Generation sustains critical patient care at groundbreaking Australian hospital

Gold Coast Hospital

As one of Australia’s largest public health projects to date, the Gold Coast University Hospital provides high-quality medical services to meet rapid regional growth and an aging population. The hospital is a specialist facility providing tertiary level services and therefore plays a pivotal role as one of Queensland’s largest clinical teaching and research facilities in training Australia’s healthcare professionals of the future.

To support its wide variety of medical functions, the Gold Coast University Hospital requires an emergency power system which could be relied on for continuous generation and supply – even throughout a grid-wide blackout or other catastrophic outage. When building the hospital, Managing Contractor Lend Lease sought an emergency power supplier who could deliver a fully-integrated system to sustain both patient load and core medical services.

Four C3000D5 generator sets powered by Cummins biggest low-emission diesel engine, the 78-litre QSK78G9, provide a continuous rating of 2.2 MW. The fully integrated system also incorporates a single Cummins DMC300 digital master control system as well as Cummins PowerCommand® digital paralleling equipment. The reliability and ease of deployment associated with the Cummins Power Generation solution means that Gold Coast University Hospital is well-placed to meet growing medical and health services demand in Queensland and broader Australia.

Read more on the Gold Coast Hospital case study at cummins.com. 
 

Adam Sidders Marketing Communications Leader Power Systems

Adam Sidders

Adam Sidders is the Marketing Communications Leader for the Power Systems Business Unit of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2012 Adam worked in Financial Services for Europe’s largest independently owned insurer as their Marketing and Communications Manager. adam.sidders@cummins.com

Energy IQ : Three common use cases and deployments of distributed energy resources

Futuristic City - Distributed energy

Distributed energy resources (DERs) are electricity-producing resources connected to the local electric distribution system. As the deployment of DERs continues growing worldwide, three common use cases of DERs are being employed globally.

Effectively in all three use cases, distributed generation introduces our electricity infrastructure and interconnected ecosystem of smaller power generation systems at or close to the point of consumption. The result of this proximity to consumption allows distributed generation systems to reduce the cost, complexity and inefficiency associated with transmission and distribution. For electricity customers, their emerging needs around sustainability and economics are also making distributed generation an important component of electricity infrastructure. In terms of sustainability, distributed generation offers the benefit of reduced emissions through integration of renewable sources with existing energy assets.

Below are three common distributed generation use cases with summarized benefits of each use case for electricity customers and energy market participants. 

Use Case No. 1: Grid Firming

Grid firming is a front-of-the-meter application where the utility meter is located between the customer load and distributed energy resources (DER).

power market today in story image

Direct energy market participants leverage grid firming to monetize their on-site power assets, including gas and diesel fueled generator sets. Energy market participants decide whether to utilize these on-site power assets by monitoring electricity demand and price in wholesale markets. For customers, grid firming provides the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) to support an inadequate grid.

Read about the role of Cummins-powered generator sets in efforts to add more renewable energy to the UK grid  

Use case No. 2: Energy Management

Energy management is a behind-the-meter application where both the customer load and DERs are on the same side of, behind, the meter.

Energy management, like grid firming, offers the opportunity to monetize on-site power assets but extends this opportunity to electricity customers in addition to direct energy market participants. Customers of energy management applications can mitigate time of use charges and experience the monetization in the form of bill savings. Some customers also enjoy the self-sufficiency offered by energy management applications.

Use case No. 3: Off-Grid

Let’s focus on two benefits of off-grid use case. First, it enables the electricity customers to operate in areas where there is weak or no grid. In this case customers benefit from consistent, reliable electricity at lower operating cost. Second, customers seeking to add renewables deploy this use to build a hybrid system consisting of renewables and diesel or gas fueled generators. In this case, the key benefits for the customers are sustainability and in some cases avoidance of high electricity prices offered by the utility.

In this use case, a customer could be self-metering the electricity usage or sign a power purchase agreement with the electricity producer. 

Read how Hawaii's largest craft brewery pursues grid independence for sustainability and to build a competitive edge

These three distributed generation use cases; grid firming, energy management and off-grid, all aim to fulfill the market’s increased expectations around reliability, sustainability and economics when it comes to purchasing electricity.

To learn more about trends in electricity markets and distributed generation, follow Cummins on Facebook and LinkedIn. To learn more about how Cummins is powering a world that’s “Always On,” visit here.

Think your friends and colleagues would like this content? Share on LinkedIn and Facebook.
 

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

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