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Last updated: 20 May 2020
To have energy security means that a constant energy supply available at an affordable price is a certainty. It concerns both a country’s long-term ability to generate a sufficient amount of energy to power homes and businesses, and the risk of short-term power cuts
. This guide outlines how threats to energy security affect your business, and how you can prepare for an energy outage.
Is Energy Security in the UK at Risk?
While there have been no major interruptions in the country’s fuel supply since the era of the Three Day Week in the 70s, power cuts are a regrettable inevitability in the modern age.
Nationally, power supplies are coming under more and more pressure, thanks to the growth of IT, telecommunications and social media services. Temporary blackouts are to be expected as technology adapts and evolves to keep up with the ever increasing power demand in the UK. However, there are a number of precautions your business can take to protect itself against short-term power outages.
Energy security goes beyond what is generated internally within the UK. Brexit threatens the energy trade between the UK and the EU. As the EU supplies around 12% of our gas and 5% of our electricity, supply shortages and higher energy bills
are post-Brexit possibilities. Brexit is also coinciding with the UK’s ongoing transition from coal and nuclear power stations to more renewable sources
, which has necessitated increased dependency on Europe for power imports in recent years as our energy infrastructure shifts. These energy security risks are scary for businesses, but unfortunately these issues go far beyond what you can control.
Is There Anything You or Your Business Can Do?
A backup energy system is case of temporary power disruption is crucial. Businesses that depend heavily on uninterrupted power supply have been investing in UPS systems and generators which provide battery backup in the event of electrical failure. These vary in size and power, with the smallest ones providing battery backup for a few minutes. However, even these are worth the investment, as these extra minutes mean you can shutdown any computer systems properly in order to avoid data catastrophe.
Investing a UPS generator is a wise decision, but this is not enough to guarantee fail-safe backup. You can’t just leave it and expect it to do its job perfectly when called upon - good maintenance is essential. You should also take every measure to prevent fuel contamination - it is incredibly delicate and gets contaminated very easily. You should establish a consistent fuel maintenance programme, involving samples being taken at regular intervals to test for water and dirt. If at any point you discover your fuel is contaminated, the appropriate action should then be taken before any serious problems emerge.
If you have sufficient finances, a fuel polishing system is a worthy investment, constantly re-circulating fuel through filtration stages in order to remove water and any particulates. This will ensure you have guaranteed backup power in the case of a fuel outage, enabling you to sidestep regular contamination checks.