Emergency Power Supply Systems: Frequently Asked Questions

If losing electricity in your building would create an emergency, implementing a standby generator should be a priority. Regardless of your building's power needs, a generator that provides electricity in the event of power outages can be implemented. If you have questions about generators and their implementation, the following answers may help.

How long do generators last?

The lifetime of a generator depends on several factors, particularly: its construction quality, frequency of use, maintenance, and modernization. An industrial generator that receives regular maintenance and occasional modernization measures can last for decades.

How much do generators cost?

Depending on its size, construction, and technology, a generator can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars. The less power an entity uses, the less it usually spends on a generator.

Is there a difference between an emergency generator and an EPSS?

Yes. An EPSS refers to the system that creates the emergency power capacity of a building. A backup generator is the central component of this system, but it is not the only component. Nevertheless, the term emergency generator and the acronym EPSS are often used synonymously.

Does a portable generator have advantages over a stationary one?

For emergency power in residences and small commercial buildings, portable generators can be valuable due to their compactness, mobility, and easy implementation. However, their small load size and limited fuel supply make them insufficient for most commercial and industrial buildings.

Can a generator start automatically in the event of a power outage?

Yes. Stationary generators feature two types automatic start up: make before break, and break before make. In a make before break scenario, a transfer switch connects a building to generator feed prior to disconnecting it from utility feed, ensuring a seamless transition. In a break before make scenario, the opposite occurs, resulting in a brief interruption of electricity.

Make before break switches are used by entities that require constant electricity to support critical services.

What fuel options are available for industrial generators?

The following types of fuel power industrial generators: gasoline, diesel, bio-diesel, emulsified diesel, propane, and natural gas. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

Is it possible to extend the run time of a diesel generator?

Yes. The best way to extend the run time of a diesel generator is to implement a Bi-Fuel system that replaces diesel with natural gas on an energy equivalent basis. When properly installed and operated, a Bi-Fuel system can reduce a generator's diesel consumption by up to 70%.

Are industrial generators automatically cooled?

Yes. Industrial generators feature either cooling fans or liquid cooling via an enclosed radiator system. The latter is common in large, high Kilowatt generators.

How often should industrial generators be maintained?

Industrial generator maintenance is predicted by several factors. However, weekly inspection, monthly testing, annual testing and maintenance, and annual infrared scanning are recommended in all cases.

At Prime Power, we perform the following services for emergency power systems: scheduled maintenance, load bank and breaker testing, infrared scanning, repairs, modernization and retrofits, and new installations. For more information on installing, operating, maintaining, or testing a generator, call us today for a free consultation.