Chloride has urged businesses to consider the costs of being unprepared for power losses in the lead up to and during the 2012 Olympic games.
The elevated risk of power interruptions or sub-standard quality threatens London's IT infrastructure, which could be compromised by any power fluctuation lasting a few milliseconds.
"The Games present a one off risk to power supplies: demand will be unpredictable and risk of prolonged power outages will be temporarily elevated," explained Chloride's technical support manager, Rob Tanzer. "The servers common to most businesses are intolerant of sub-standard power and when they go down, losses are catastrophic. Power fluctuations of a few milliseconds could bring down servers and mainframes".
High profile threats to electricity supplies have been a persistent theme at previous games. In Beijing last year, industries were shut down wholesale due to severe power shortages, caused by the Games. Sydney Airport suffered a total power failure during the 2004 Olympics and during the Games in Athens the prime minister was forced to intervene when human error resulted in a number of power cuts.
"Demand is likely to be unpredictable," said Tanzer. "Just as the Chinese authorities invested in Taiyanggong power plant, the Olympic Development Authority has similarly secured autonomous power generation at Stratford City and the Olympic Park. They're hedging their position, yet the same cannot be said of many power-dependent local businesses."
Chloride's UPS systems alone provide 60MVA of back-up power in just twelve buildings in the Canary Wharf area, yet it is not just the City's IT infrastructure at risk. At the other end of the scale, small businesses may have to protect one or two critical PCs, machinery or a server with single-phase UPS, providing surge protection and battery back up , whilst allowing time for an orderly shut down.
"Organisations need to take a balanced view of both short and long term vulnerabilities. Investing in a UPS system will ‘future proof' a business by protecting critical processes beyond the immediate threat presented by massive events such as the Olympics," Tanzer explained.
The very extent of construction work on Olympic sites and critical infrastructure is thought to place data centres and high throughput industrial units at particular risk. Such businesses face severe losses and legal liabilities without the security of some autonomous UPS capability, as traditionally provided by a three-phase UPS system or eco-friendly hydrogen fuel cell.
"Britain's power generators have failed to protect themselves from volatile and insecure energy provision," concluded Tanzer. "Businesses must respond appropriately to increased short and medium term risks. London is the financial capital of Europe and power outages in the data centres and trading floors could be catastrophic to the already fragile economy. Without some sort of power protection nearly all business operations are threatened. It is therefore advised that businesses seek to secure their power supply by speaking to the industry leaders to find the best solutions for their organisations."