Home Based Business and Edison

Our power company, Edison, is not very SOHO friendly. In the last 12 months our power has gone out briefly on numerous occasions and for extended lengths of time 3 times. There was a “maintenance” outage lasting around 3 hours scheduled for between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm. Which 3 hours you ask? We did not know until they happened around 10:30 am. How long after 10:30 am would the outage last? We did not know until it was over. Then, when the power came back on, we did not know if it would go back out again, since it was not yet 4:00 pm.

The second time the power went out was unplanned and it was down for 14 hours during a 6 week long heat wave of up to 120 F weather. We were not informed what had happened but our buisness was down all day. Our website was down, no new customers and current customers couldn’t contact us. We were unable to notify our customers as to what happened. All, very bad!

The third time, well, that’s going to be today, April 25th, 2007. Some time between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm for an unknown duration and possibly multiple durations. Armed with a weeks notice I searched for an alternative backup power source… Solar, nice but too expensive. Battery back up or UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply), maybe but again expensive and difficult to determine the amount of time 3 PC’s, a router and a switch, 1 printer and 1 monitor would have back up power, we needed at least 8 hours. Generator (Buy vs Rent). The problems with generators as a temporary back up solution are that they are noisy, they have to be refueled while running to keep constant power, and they are not connected into the house’s electrical system (unless you buy that type of system $$$). So you have to shut all the computers down, move them over to the generator’s output (Using surge supression of course) and start up the generator and then booting up all the computers (In our case 3).

Of course there’s no telling how long the power will actually be out and when it will go out so we have to do this at the 7:00am time Edison gave us. Since I have to go to work and be gone for 10-12 hours I can’t really wait until the power actually goes out for this. And, Stacy will have to refuel to keep things going until 4:00pm.

UPS would be the best, but we can’t spend the money right now. So the Generator solution seems best at $40 a day from Home Depot. 3000 watts should be enough for 3 PC’s and 1 monitor and the network equipment. The unknown is still how long will the fuel hold out before needing more.

It’s now 6:15 am and I have extension cables run and I’m awaiting 7:00 am before starting the Generator. Sorry Neighbors.

One comment

  • The Generator worked great. Just so you all know a Honda 3000 Watt generator with a 3.5 gallon gas tank will run over 8 hours powering 3 Tower PC’s, 1 LCD monitor, a FiOS Router, an 8 port gigabit switch, a Sonic Wall SSL VPN router, a Vonage VoIP box and 2 Cordless phones. About 3/4 of a gallon was added to the tank to last the 10 1/2 hours I was gone and there was still a half tank left over when I arrived to move everything back to house power.

    Make sure you put a good surge supressor in front of the PC’s as the power output is not clean at all. I had a small APC battery backup and it kept clicking back and forth from battery to power all day.

    The bad news is not only did the power go out for us but it effected our water pressure (We don’t have an onsite pump so the substation must have been effected) and even thouh our FiOS mux has a battery backup, FiOS went down (Though the mux appeared to still be up running on it’s battery).

    So much for Verizon’s recent commercials (It’s always on, even when the power’s out). Hey Verizon, make sure you can back up statements before you put them on the air. I saw the disclaimer at the bottom of the commercial screen “Verizon FiOS customers have up to 8 hours battery backup”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *