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Commissioning an emergency power supply system

The challenge is to leverage the power of technology while mastering best practices to protect, preserve and control these vital records

July 19, 2016

The new Emergency Power Supply System (EPSS) has finally been commissioned. The design, factory witness testing, installation and site benchmarking  are  complete. This state of the art power plant is ready and awaiting a power outage to prove its worth and protect the facility. The intellectual property (or “Documentation”) is also new, complete and correct. You may indeed still have hard copy O&M manuals, program disks and manufacturer’s cut sheets but you probably also have duplicate soft versions of this material safely tucked away on a network hard drive.

Just as paper is subject to loss, aging or damage, intellectual property is susceptible to new hazards. Servers will fail, viruses will corrupt, and humans will err. The challenge is to leverage the tremendous power of technology while mastering best practices to protect, preserve and control these vital records.

Here are some suggestions.

Throughout the useable lifetime of the system, many changes will occur. Programs will be modified to reflect changes in operating philosophy, capacity may be increased, control set points may need adjustment, features may be added etc. A strict revision control policy is essential, all changes must be documented and all media updated accordingly. Establish a staff position responsible for this process.

Data center operators maintain mirrored operating systems, data files and facilities. Intellectual property related to the EPSS should be treated no differently. This redundant architecture can be established in house or off site. There are for example web based services available. M.C. Access is a virtual building reference depository residing on a secure server accessible from anywhere in the world via the internet.

Such systems allow you and your staff to see virtual representations of equipment physical location, nameplate and specification data, and systems are interconnections, emergency call lists, drawings, service reports and much more.

Most importantly, these systems allow staff members to collaborate on line regardless of time or their geographic location.

As the need for data continues to grow, data centers and their Emergency Power Supply Systems are becoming very large and complex. Many mission critical operations include simulators as part essential systems. 

This tool is invaluable for training and allows personnel to simulate scenarios prior to taking actions which may affect the facility. Given the enhanced importance of data and the increased complexity of systems, a simulator is becoming a necessity rather than a convenient option. 

Fire departments pre plan their response to major properties to enhance efficiency and response, data center staff should run simulations of maintenance and emergency scenarios for the same reason.

Maintain contact with your vendor, contractor and consulting team. The team that designed, engineered, manufactured and commissioned your EPSS remains a powerful resource and is an essential element of system reliability. When your maintenance vendor shows up to service or repair the EPSS, you should have the technical information of record.

Relegating  this  responsibility to any outside entity is a mistake. It’s your facility, your system, and the life blood of your company.

Maintain and audit a spare parts inventory. Your maintenance vendor may be responsible for supplying these parts but maintaining a spare parts inventory on site assures control and availability when needed.

You can restock the spare inventory as parts are used and to maintain fresh inventory. As systems age components may become obsolete or at the very least, scarce. Understand the availability of critical spares


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Topic Area: Energy and Power

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