Blackouts and fuel rationing to start in December, is your business prepared?

Power Control
29 Jun 2022

On the 29th of May 2022, the government released a stark outlook for the winter after officials drew up a ‘reasonable’ worst-case scenario following the knock-on effects as the energy crisis continues in the UK. riven by geopolitical tensions and the ‘perfect storm’ of market forces, this statement has exposed the fragility of the current state of fuel supplies and the significant impacts it will have on businesses across all sectors.

The ‘worst-case’ scenario outlines what will happen if Norwegian imports of gas are limited to more than half and if there is no support from interconnectors such as Belgium and the Netherlands as they face their own supply crisis and if Russia cuts off gas entirely to the EU.

‘Businesses and residential properties could all see energy blackouts starting from December and lasting for three months with blackouts both on weekdays and weekends.’1 The government would be forced to in effect ration electricity, suggesting it would be turned off on weekdays at peak times in the morning between 7 am and 10 am, and in the evenings between 4 pm and 9 pm.   

To add to the already dismal outlook, at the time of writing this blog post, the wholesale price of natural gas is escalating drastically. It stands between 400% - 800% higher than this time last year and places an additional strain on businesses across the country. Sectors such as data centres, manufacturing and facilities are already feeling the pinch with reports that the NHS could see their energy bills soaring past £1 billion in the next ERIC reports.

With industries facing a double whammy, prices going up and instability of energy supplies, businesses are being urged to scrutinise their existing critical power infrastructure and bolster their backup power strategy for what is likely to be increasingly turbulent times in the very near future.


Preparing your infrastructure for energy supply blackouts

For businesses with mission critical equipment, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) solution is a vital asset. These systems provide instantaneous power in the event of a mains failure and will keep equipment running either until the mains power is resumed, a generator kicks in or until a safe shutdown procedure has been performed.

 Depending on the industry, many facilities and premises will likely already have a critical power infrastructure in place with some level of power resilience either through an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), central power supply (CPSS), diesel generator or a combination of the three. Whilst this may tick a box, it is important to ensure they are still in good working order and will support the electrical load during a mains blackout. The following things should be considered:


  1. How old are the existing UPS?

The first thing to check is the age of the existing UPS and whether the backup power system/s has had regular maintenance intervals over its life. A UPS has a typical lifespan of 10-14 years, after which the internal parts may start to degrade rendering the UPS unfit for purpose. Those without a full-service history may incur problems and be unreliable earlier in their lifespan. If a UPS older than this is installed, it may be time to request a site survey and look at a new UPS solution.


  1. Is the UPS still sized correctly?

what happens if the business has expanded since installing a UPS causing the new load to exceed the capacity of the UPS? If this happens, the UPS will flag up a warning that it is overloaded.

How the UPS reacts to the overload depends on how much it is overloaded by. Many UPS can operate at up to 125% overload for 10minutes, 125%-150% for 30 seconds and around 150% for 100 milliseconds. Over these overload figures, the UPS is likely to go to static bypass (so the load still will not be dropped), meaning the UPS will be supported by raw mains until the load drops to within the capacity of the UPS. If the overload condition continues, some UPS models automatically shut down. 

An efficiency audit will asses whether the existing UPS is sized to correctly support the current infrastructure and take into account any future plans of expansion.


  1. Has the environment around the UPS changed?

Like other electrical equipment, the UPS and batteries must be installed and kept in an environment that is conducive to the manufacturer's guidelines. Typically, this should be in a climate controlled room with the temperature kept between 0 – 25C, no moisture and free from dust or abrasive materials. Failure to do so is likely to affect the internal components of the UPS and impact the battery performance.


  1. Prevention is better than cure (preventative maintenance)

With businesses becoming more reliant on their power supplies, a power failure is an unmitigated disaster. A preventative UPS maintenance programme ensures maintenance is carried out at regular intervals and will include a full inspection of UPS components, identifying risks before they affect the health of a UPS.

It is recommended that all consumable parts such as capacitors, fans, batteries, etc are replaced once during the life span of the UPS.

All of these considerations are key to ensuring the UPS and backup power infrastructure is working at its optimum and will support the critical architecture during a mains failure. The energy crisis is one that remains at the top of the government's agenda and with no end in sight for the near future, it is important to have peace of mind that the backup power infrastructure will work when needed.

Power Control has nearly three decades of experience in the critical power industry and operates across a plethora of sectors. Our UPS manufacturing partners provide up to the minute training on their UPS systems and our engineers are trained across multivendor systems.

For more information please visit, email or call the office on 01246 431431

Alternatively please visit for specific product information or email Power Control’s solutions director direct