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SStrauss, Ans#9
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A: Indeed there is, and it is not hard to understand why – lost power can cost a small business money. A little background is in order: As you will recall, last summer the east coast suffered one of the worst power outages in history. Although much of the eastern U.S. shut down, one notable entity did not – the New York Stock Exchange.


Why did the NYSE stay up when so many other businesses went dark? Because it had the foresight to buy a backup power system. And it was smart to do so. Would you be surprised to learn that since the Great Blackout of 2003, although Congress has looked into the causes, absolutely nothing has been done to shore-up the ailing and aged power grid? I thought not.


As a result, like you, hundreds of thousands of small businesses are actively looking at, and buying, backup power supply systems. A recent survey bears this out. The Small Business Power Poll was commissioned by Emerson - the country’s leading provider of backup power systems to businesses of all sizes. The results are very illuminating. It turns out that:


·         62 percent of small businesses do not have any type of backup power supply, even though 80 percent experienced at least one power outage in 2003, and a whopping 25 percent experienced three or more outages last year.

·         Not surprisingly, 75 percent say electrical power outages are a threat to their business and 56 percent say a backup power system would give them a competitive advantage.

·         As a result, 35 percent of small businesses have researched or considered some type of backup electrical power system, and

·         200,000 small businesses have bought backup power systems since The Great Blackout.

There are basically two types of backup power systems available to small businesses. The first is called UPS, for uninterrupted power supply. This type includes a seamless battery backup system that switches on automatically at the first hint of a power outage. The battery backup system lasts long enough to get back up from a typical power surge, brown out, or lightening strike.

The other system is a “gen-set” system, which lasts even longer. This process uses a backup generator and switches that also transfers power over at the first hint of a power outage. The system seamlessly and automatically transfers operations to the backup system, and then (and this is pretty darn cool) automatically switches back once it senses that power is restored. The perfect system therefore would be a gen-set backup with a UPS system used as a bridge.  Then you would have no break in power, and a system that can last as long as you need it to.

I know, I know, you are probably thinking that such systems are probably beyond your budget. While that used to be true, the good news is that today, backup power systems are surprisingly affordable. Emerson estimates that a UPS system could be obtained for as little as $1,500.


All in all, getting a backup power system is a very smart business practice.


Today’s tip:  Emerson is now offering backup power solutions to small businesses, just as it does for the New York Stock Exchange. If you would like to learn more, visit

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