In 2020, U.S. electricity customers experienced an average of eight hours of power interruptions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s the most since the agency began collecting reliability data in 2013 and about 20 minutes more than the previous high in 2017.
Often, it’s in the worst of times that backup power systems are needed the most. When fires, floods, earthquakes and other events knock out power, the Emergency Power Supply Systems (EPSS) must step up and work as designed. Which means, planning and installation are essential to ensuring performance – long before any storm clouds set in.
Chapter 7 of the National Fire Protection Association Standard 110 (NFPA 110), entitled “Installation and Environmental Considerations,” provides minimum installation requirements for backup power systems in critical applications. It applies to new and existing Emergency Power Supply Systems (EPSS), providing certain minimum standards recognized as essential for successful EPSS operation where a power outage would create a life safety risk.
The term “Emergency Generator” is often used incorrectly to describe the generator used to provide backup power to a facility. Officially, as defined by NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC), there are four types of backup or standby power systems: Emergency Systems, Legally Required Standby Systems, Optional Standby Systems and Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS). Understanding the differences among these system classifications is important for determining which codes and standards apply and for what the design, installation, inspection, maintenance and testing requirements are for the backup power system.
National Fire Protection Association Standard 110 (NFPA 110) is written specifically for emergency and standby power systems and covers installation, maintenance, operation and testing requirements as they pertain to the performance of the emergency power supply system (EPSS). It includes standards related to generators, transfer switches, fuel systems, circuit breakers and other components of the EPSS. The first three chapters of the Standard provide an introduction. Chapters four through eight each address one essential element for compliance.
In the Summer issue of our Power Generation PULSE eNewsletter, we examine the question: What is involved in a successful generator set installation? To come up with the answers, we spoke with three of Curtis Engine’s longtime electrical contracting partners. Don D’Amato, President Electric Advantage
Residents in assisted living facilities in the Commonwealth of Virginia will have greater assurances of uninterrupted electrical power in the event of loss of grid electricity from natural disasters or other events thanks to a newly enacted law. Senate Bill No. 1077, signed into law on February 21, 2019, requires all assisted living facilities in Virginia to install and maintain adequately sized emergency generators or have the capability to accept mobile generators.
Certain provisions of the International Building Code (IBC) govern the certification and installation of emergency standby power systems used in locations that are seismically active or are subject to high wind loading of up to 150 mph. As such, the IBC has set seismic design and testing standards for the manufacturers of emergency standby power systems to withstand seismic loads and to function after an emergency situation.