Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"Buy before You Need It," and Other Generator Tips

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"Buy before You Need It," and Other Generator Tips

Article excerpt

Eric Johnston is vice-president of Americas Generators, a leading supplier of commercial-grade backup power generators, transfer switches, and fuel. The company's website,, includes a helpful glossary of generator-related terms and concepts.

Days before Hurricane Katrina unleashed devastation on parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, the storm caused significant flooding and damage to parts of South Florida.

The tropical region--an area fitted with banks and other financial institutions--suffered widespread flooding and power outages. For almost an entire week, parts of south Florida were without power in the hot, humid days of late summer. Tens of thousands of customers were inconvenienced by inoperable banks in the days after the storm. In addition to physical damage left behind, the loss of power also left many customers wondering if their financial records were safe at their local banks. When Katrina hit Louisiana, Mississippi, and parts of other states, and Rita followed, this added still more trouble, and drew the headlines that Florida's experience didn't.

Although the industry had a wake-up cart two years ago, when 50 million people in the Northeast spent the night in one of the largest blackouts in recent memory, we were once again reminded of the importance of backup power during this year's hurricane season and sizzling summer.

In any power outage caused by weather or power grid failure, area residents turn from annoyed to frustrated and finally to scared, while local bank management struggles to continue operations under an intense amount of confusion. And even banks with seamless, well-thought-out emergency plans can be ill prepared for the "real thing." Institutions must include a backup power resource in their business continuity strategy.

What you'll need

Banks should be equipped with generators that are between 40 and 80 kilowatts in power capacity. This level of power output is generally what is needed to run basic functions, including computers, back office, lighting, etc. Generators of this size range anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, not including accessories such as fuel tanks and transfer switches.

A successful backup power system consists of more than just a generator. …

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