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Why we use generators?

Posted on 11 June 2014 05:04 PM by Cotte1j

Chug-chug-chug-chug-chug!  Generators may not be the quietest things – but I know they can be a very welcome sound for our customers when they have no power.

Power cuts are rare, but when they happen some can take longer to fix than you or I would like.

We run a flexible network and often supplies can be restored by switching to provide electricity from another source. This may take a few minutes to a number of hours depending on the nature of the fault. 

However sometimes it is not possible to provide an alternate supply and in these cases UK Power Networks will look to restore supplies with the use of mobile generation.

By the way, critical sites such as hospitals may have their own standby generators that start automatically if the public power supply should fail.

If a generator is needed in your neck of the woods, here’s what will happen. 

We’ll connect it as close as possible to the local electricity substation – that might mean being very close to your home. 

A diesel engine powers each unit and it has a sound-absorbing case – but they can be a bit noisy, especially if they are large. Sorry!

Things to bear in mind
The demand for electricity varies during the day and this may sometimes be greater than we calculate. Please try to use less power than usual by switching off things you don’t need in your home.

The speed of a generator can vary at times with its electrical loading, which can affect the voltage and frequency. These small variations won’t affect most things, but some conventional clocks may gain time. They will return to normal when we remove the generator.

Don’t worry, your electricity meter will not go faster. It will still accurately measure the electricity you use.

Planned power cuts
Sometimes we use generators when we have to disconnect customers to do planned maintenance on the network and for safety’s sake we have to isolate equipment.  If this ever has to affect you, we’ll let you knows in advance.

Portable generators
I don’t have a generator at home - very few people do - but some customers have bought their own ‘just in case’.  For most households, a mid-size portable unit (5,000 to 6,000 watts) should suffice. They sell for £100-£500 and will allow you to run up to roughly 10 appliances, including the fridge and a portable electric heater. They are powered by petrol or diesel.

If you can’t afford one, or don’t want one, don’t worry!  If there’s a power cut, it’s our 24/7 duty to get it fixed as swiftly as possible.  So you’ll probably never hear the chug-chug-chug of a generator.

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