Power Outages: The Quiet But Costly Side Effect of Extreme Weather

How to keep the lights on and our critical facilities up and running when even the most extreme and unpredictable weather strikes. 

It is a windy Friday evening in early August. You’re sitting on your couch, but you can't relax. You’re preoccupied, with your Changing weather patterns cause more power outagesears and eyes tuned to your phone and TV for the latest weather updates. The impending hurricane is now classified as a Category 4. Living on the Gulf Coast, you're used to hearing this news; but this time your family is in the hurricane’s path. You worry about the likely power outages or worse.

You ask yourself, "Why us?"

It's not just you, and it's not just the coastal communities either. From hurricanes and wild fires to heat waves and winter storms, changing and unpredictable weather patterns impact communities around the world. 

Extreme Weather: The New Norm? 

Residents of the United States' Gulf Coast have experienced above average hurricane activity over the last three years, and the hurricanes are getting stronger. Hurricanes disrupt communities, frequently requiring residents to temporarily relocate with considerable financial losses for families. 

Wild fires are increasingly captured on the news as they get larger and more destructive. It is estimated that nearly 85 percent of wild land fires are caused by humans, yet the drier and hotter climate acts as a catalyst driving a trend toward larger and more severe wild fires. 

We also experience more heat waves, as the hot days are getting hotter and occur more frequently. Heat waves are notoriously deadly not only for the very young and elderly, but also for those living in urban areas or who work outdoors. The heatwave that hit Europe in 2003 claimed more than 70,000 lives. 

How Much More Stress Can Our Grid Take? 

These changing weather patterns also impact the electricity infrastructure. Hurricanes and wildfires bring down transmission or distribution lines and force power plant closures, leaving consumers without electricity. Heat waves increase the usage of some power-hungry amenities including air conditioners; therefore, causing a surge in the demand for electricity. This surge could result in an overheating grid or lack of electricity supply. Both could result in black-outs.  

Powering every day needs such as keeping the lights on and ensuring that hospitals and nursing homes operate without interruption is a complex challenge that requires a multi-faceted solution.

Here is a look at how the industry is improving grid resiliency to keep the power running. 

  • Hardening the Grid: Improvements such as underground utility lines, poles resistant to higher wind speeds, improved vegetation management and elevated electrical equipment as protection from flooding are some of the examples. These improvements aim to create an infrastructure that is physically more durable against severe weather events. 
  • Increasing System Capability: Additional lines to increase capacity of electricity flow and automated fault isolation using intelligent switches are common improvements on the transmission side. Equipment health sensors throughout the infrastructure automate outage detection and service restoration. Energy storage options could be useful during shorter outages, offering the advantage of getting online faster. Distributed generation applications could mitigate the risk of major outages caused by a central power plant going offline due to severe weather.

“There are two ways distributed generation improves the resiliency of the grid during severe weather," said Satish Jayaram, General Manager of Distributed Generation at Cummins Inc. "First is the proximity to electricity consumers. Distributed generation resources tend to be closer to consumers compared to central generation assets, and require less transmission and distribution lines, fewer power lines at risk to be impacted by severe weather.

Second is the geographical spread of electricity generating assets. Central generation assets offer benefits such as one place to deliver fuel, one place to do repairs, but also presents the risk of one place to rely on for electricity, especially if this one place is on the path of a hurricane or wild fire. A combination of centralized and distributed generation improves the resiliency of the grid, as distributed generation resources are geographically spread out, presenting less likelihood of all of them being impacted with severe weather." 

  • Integrating Consumers Through Smart Devices: Using technologies such as smart meters and connected thermostats help utilities operate more effectively during severe weather. Utilities and grid operators could make decisions based on real time info collected from these smart devices, making their recovery efforts more effective. They can also adjust electricity demand from consumers through these smart devices, decreasing the strain on the infrastructure. 
  • Managing the Risk: U.S. Department of Energy calls out managing risk as the number one priority to achieve grid resiliency. This includes creating effective policies and plans, and conducting exercises to mitigate hazards. 

As the electricity industry continues to improve the grid resiliency, an outage is still unacceptable for many consumers, especially those whose life depends on continuous operation of medical devices at their homes. For other consumers, the monetary cost and inconveniences associated with a loss of power is significant.

Such costs can lead to an increase in the adoption of whole house generators as a back-up power source for consumers. For example, residents with Cummins whole house generators mitigate the costs associated with an extended power outage and keep their family safe and comfortable during the outage. To understand how much power your family needs, use Cummins’ online generator size calculator.

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.

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.

Turning flare gas waste into electricity and heat

As the global concern for gas flaring grows, oil companies will be investing in technologies that utilize the unburned fuel without harming the environment or pocketbook.
As the global concern for gas flaring grows, oil companies will be investing in technologies that utilize the unburned fuel without harming the environment or pocketbook.

While generally considered a waste byproduct, flare gas – the excess natural gas that is removed from refineries by burning it off in a gas flare – can actually be a valuable energy source when combined with lean-burn engine technology. 

As the global concern for gas flaring grows, propelled by the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 initiative, more and more players in the oil and gas sector will be investing in technologies that utilize the unburned fuel without harming the environment or the pocketbook. 

By combusting flare gas in a highly efficient lean-burn gas generator set rather than a gas flare, emissions from flare gases are reduced while valuable byproducts such as electricity and heat are generated for use in the facility or homes and businesses nearby. 

Current regulations for gas flaring, the gas composition and advantages of utilizing flare gas through lean-burn engine technology are discussed in a new white paper written by Linda Nezerwe, a Cummins Sales Application Engineering Technical Specialist. Read the Utilizing Flare Gas To Generate Power For The Oil And Gas Sector paper and more white papers on 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. [email protected]

From Minnesota to Florida, helping a veteran's family rebuild

After sustaining devastating water and wind damage as a result of Hurricane Michael, the Patron family's home was barely livable.

In the upcoming season of "Military Makeover," Cummins employees rally together to help a Florida family rebuild their home. 

Cody Patron and her daughter, Layla, are re-building their lives, the result of Hurricane Michael severely damaging their home in October 2018. But Hurricane Michael is just the second tragedy that Cody has experienced in the last decade.The first took place eight years ago and more than 7,000 miles away.

Cody’s husband, Sergeant Daniel J. Patron, who served more than a decade in the Marine Corps, earned the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medals for his heroic service. On August 6, 2011, he was killed in action in Sangin Valley, Afghanistan. 

Since her husband's death, Cody has drawn on her military family to cope and adapt. With the help of a strong support system and some kind strangers, she’s trying to not let Hurricane Michael get in her way. Sometimes, however, that can be a tough one to overcome.

Cummins and "Military Makeover," a home improvement series airing on the Lifetime, recently partnered to help the Patrons overcome this latest challenge by renovating the family’s home in Panama City Beach, Florida. Cody and Layla have peace of mind in their renovated home, knowing that a Cummins QuietConnect home standby generator is there to keep their lights on and appliances running during the next power outage.

A total team effort

Bringing this peace of mind to Cody and Layla was a team effort, and we recently sat down with three team members who helped design, manufacture and install the Cummins home generator for the Patron family.

Dan Priem, of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota and an Engineering Manager at Cummins, was part of the team that designed the Cummins QuietConnect generator sets.

Cummins Military Makeover
Several Cummins employees, including those pictured here, helped design, manufacture and install the Cummins home generator at the Patron family's home in Florida. 

"It makes me proud to work for a company that supports veterans and their families, and is willing help those who have made the ultimate sacrifice," Priem said. "Partnering with Military Makeover to help Cody and Layla was a great opportunity for Cummins to demonstrate our gratitude. I’m sure the Cummins QuietConnect will bring many years of security and comfort to the Patron family."

Raam Thiyagarajan, also of Maple Grove, Minnesota and a manufacturing leader at Cummins, manages the team that assembles Cummins QuietConnect generator sets.

"At Cummins, we always focus on giving back to the community. My team and I are proud and honored to hear that one of our products is keeping the Patron family safe, secure and comfortable regardless of the weather outside," said Thiyagarajan. "As always, we will continue to support our communities and customers by producing the best products." 

Jonny Miller, owner of Cummins-authorized dealer Ronco Generators in Destin, Florida, led a team that helped install the Patron’s new Cummins generator.

"We are pleased to have been a part of this special project," Miller added. "After suffering back-to-back tragedies, the Patron family will have confidence knowing they have a Cummins back-up generator to power their home and lives in the event of another power outage." 

If you are interested in learning more about Cody and Layla’s experience with "Military Makeover" and their Cummins QuietConnect generator, follow us on Facebook or watch the upcoming episodes featuring the Patron family’s journey starting Friday, August 30 at 7:30 a.m. ET on Lifetime.

If, like the Patrons, your family lives in an area susceptible to severe weather and power outages, use our online generator size calculator to understand how much power your family needs. 
 

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.

JCI-accredited Shifa International Hospital sets industry benchmark for power reliability

Faced with synchronization and startup issues from another generator brand, the world-class healthcare facility turned to Cummins for complete reliability.
Faced with synchronization and startup issues from another generator brand, the world-class healthcare facility turned to Cummins for complete reliability.

For 25 years, Shifa International Hospital Limited (Islamabad) has established itself as a premier healthcare institution. The 550-bed tertiary care hospital where four transplants (liver, kidney, bone marrow and cornea) and five Centers of Excellence take place under one roof makes it unique in the region. It is the second hospital in Pakistan to be accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

Being a top-notch, world-class healthcare facility requires the latest power technology. With an existing 1,250 kVA Cummins generator in their powerhouse, in 2016, the customer ordered a 2 MW supplemental unit from another generator manufacturer. Later on, the unit faced synchronization and startup issues. That’s when the customer approached Cummins. A pair of Cummins C1400D5 units installed by authorized Cummins distributor Orient Energy Systems (OES) provide an additional 2 MW (2,500 kVA). But the hospital’s objective went beyond backup electrical supply. They turned to Cummins for complete reliability, technical support and less inventory maintenance.

Cummins is the only single-source provider of integrated power solutions. A Cummins power system delivers the assurance of single-source, full life cycle accountability and fail-safe performance – crucial factors for customers who must protect key operations from costly or life-threatening power outages.

“After Shifa International's JCI accreditation, more hospitals in the healthcare sector have arose the demand of backup power supply. This will drastically improve the power reliability and increase the quality in the services in the tertiary healthcare sector of Pakistan,” said Farhan Tahir Ikram, OES Deputy Project Sales Manager.

Cummins high-horsepower power systems are designed with specific features to meet the life protection, safety, mission-critical, environmental and independent power generation requirements of customers across many markets. Backup, synchronization and load sharing is of utmost importance, Ikram explained, and that is a benefit offered by Cummins, especially in this rating.

Support provided by the OES team included:

  • Integration of new Cummins 2 x C1400D5 generator sets in the existing ecosystem of diesel units, gas units and utilities
  • Design and understanding of complex operation philosophy of backup power units, including recommendations to the customer to better optimize the system by analyzing all the switchgear installed
  • Project completion time of 16 weeks, including installation and commissioning of complete system.

For more information on power solutions for healthcare, visit cummins.com.
 

Anisha George

As a Marketing Communications Specialist, Anisha supports marketing, communications and event management for Africa and Middle East regions. Prior to joining Cummins in 2011, she gained industry experience working in the event management field. [email protected] 

Bundu Khan restaurant and bakery expands with Cummins standby power

The Cummins power systems at the bakeries provide 55 kVA of power to back up the main utility.
The Cummins power systems at the bakeries provide 55 kVA of power to back up the main utility.

Bundu Khan is an old venture in the Pakistani food industry that has become a household brand for barbeque cuisine. As a sole proprietor with its first bakery opening on Mall Road in Lahore in 1991, today Bundu Khan operates bakeries and restaurants in Lahore, Multan and now in Murree. 

Bundu KhanCummins was selected as the backup power provider for Bundu Khan several years ago for the main office building. The customer recently added Cummins generators to the production plant and at each of the 11 branch locations. Authorized Cummins distributor Orient Energy Systems installed each of the units, comprising one Cummins C140D5, two C66D5 and 11 C55D5 generator sets. The power systems at the bakeries provide 55 kVA of power to back up the main utility. Tailor-made enclosures provide sound levels of 85 dBA at 1 meter.

OES was instrumental in providing exceptional service, often with short delivery lead times. While the customer plans to open a certain number of branches annually, unexpected delays in the planning phases can mean tight delivery deadlines to be ready for shop openings, which are also coordinated with annual festivals, explained OES Sales Manager Muzaffar Iqbal. To meet delivery lead times, OES is equipped with a stocking plan to meet the customer’s unexpected needs as well.

“The customer has many options for backup power generation available in the local market, but due to OES’ and Cummins’ brand reputation for customer service, he is inclined toward Cummins,” Iqbal said. “OES always strives for the best possible services and backup support.”

For more information on standby power systems for commercial and business applications, visit cummins.com
 

Anisha George

As a Marketing Communications Specialist, Anisha supports marketing, communications and event management for Africa and Middle East regions. Prior to joining Cummins in 2011, she gained industry experience working in the event management field. [email protected] 

Redirecting to
cummins.com

The information you are looking for is on
cummins.com

We are launching that site for you now.

Thank you.