A Guide to the Different Types of Power Disruption

As a business, any type of power disruption is not only an inconvenience, it can also be a very costly disruption if productivity is heavily impacted. Understanding the different types of power disruption can help you to identify the solutions required to ensure minimal, or even no disruption to your business when there is a power outage.

These are the most common types of power disruption:


In this scenario, there is a total loss of power to an area, which is classed as the most severe type of power disruption and the recovery from this can be anything from a few minutes to a few weeks, in the more extreme situations. Blackouts can be caused by a variety of issues such as a storm, if lightning strikes power line poles or a tree falling onto power lines, for example.

Any problem that affects the electricity supply can lead to a blackout, such as flooding of an electrical sub-station or even a vehicle hitting a pole. Ice forming on overhead power lines can also be a big problem, as when a large amount of ice forms, the weight can cause the wires to break. So, there are a lot of different causes that can potentially take a long time to resolve, depending on the type of damage. This is also the rarest type of power disruption.

Brownout/low voltage

In this type of power disruption, there is not a complete loss of power just a lower amount of voltage, with the most obvious sign of this being that lights will go dimmer. Electrical equipment can be affected in different ways, from shutting down to running slower. In workplaces where there is important electrical equipment, where safety could be compromised, or where data could be lost, for example, a brownout could cause significant problems.

When a brownout occurs, unplugging non-essential appliances will help to lower power consumption and preserve more power for the crucial equipment.

Power spikes

A power spike is where there is a sudden increase in the voltage. Electrical equipment can be very sensitive to spikes and can be badly damaged. There are spikes, which last less than 3 nanoseconds and there are surges, which last longer than 3 nanoseconds, both of which can be very harmful to equipment such as servers and computers.

When too much voltage is running to your equipment, it can cause the equipment to overheat and even explode, so it is a good idea for businesses to protect their equipment using solutions such as a UPS system.

Spikes can be caused by storms, static electricity or a malfunction within the national grid. If there is a power transition in large equipment on the same power line, this can also result in a spike.

“Dirty” power

Dirty power is where there is an abnormality in the quality of the power supply. This can result in surges, fluctuations in voltage and power frequency variations, amongst other issues. The fluctuations can be a dip in voltage, or over-voltage, which typically happens when there is a rapid load reduction.

When the incorrect voltage of power is delivered to a system, this can cause a range of disruptions, including damage to equipment. Using surge protectors can prevent dirty power from damaging equipment.

Most dirty power issues are related to power usage as opposed to being a problem from the supplier’s end and can be investigated to find out the main cause of the problem.

Any type of power disruption can cause severe problems to businesses who rely on power. Data centres, hospitals, food storage and many other industry types can have huge repercussions when there is a power disruption.

Fortunately, technology solutions such as UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems have been designed to prevent these power disruptions from causing any major problems. As well as protecting from surges, by regulating the voltage, a UPS provides backup power without any interruption or delay.

This can ensure that no data is lost and prevents other problems that are a consequence of power loss. There is no costly downtime while waiting for the issue to be fixed, the power simply switches over when there is an outage.

Secure Power offers a wide range of reliable, cost-effective UPS products to help businesses to protect against the risks of power outages. There are different UPS solutions to suit different types of businesses, so it is worth speaking to an expert to identify the best UPS for your business requirements.

We will be happy to advise you on any aspect of backup power, as well as offering services such as installation and maintenance. Call us today so we can find the UPS that matches your needs – 0114 349 3480.

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