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Monday, November 24, 2008

More blackouts give rise to protection solution – Carl

The regional director for Africa at APC-Schneider Electric, Mr. Carl Kleynhans, has said that increased blackouts have given rise to the need to protect Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) devices.

Speaking in Lagos, Kleynhans noted that utility companies are constantly faced with the challenges of providing a continuous power supply to consumers and, with the onset of the summer season, there is the risk of electronic equipment downtime due to possible weather related brownouts and blackouts.

“Temperatures rise, and thunderstorm activity intensify during the summer, the threat of power problems combined with increased demand on power grids escalating the potential for power problems,” he said.

He noted that across Africa, the summer months bring about the most rain, storms, lightning and over-voltage. Frequent lightning accompanying summer thunderstorms may cause over-voltage that could damage sensitive electronic devices, and even lead to short-circuits or even fire.

“Lightning is one of the most spectacular and - at the same time - most dangerous natural phenomenon and the location of a lightning strike cannot be determined in advance,” he said, stressing that surges or spikes could happen at any time due to a number of causes including lightning strikes, the in-rush of current following an outage, or even the presence of high-powered electrical motors such as air conditioners or other household appliances.

"These power fluctuations not only can cause permanent damage to expensive and sensitive electronic equipment, they often result in equipment downtime, lost productivity and lost data,” h said.

The increase use of power during the summer months for items such as air conditioners and indoor electronics, along with this constant threat of power surges, spikes and lightning, he said, make it critical to have reliable power protection in the home or business,” he explained.

Pointing out that most people use a reliable surge suppressor or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect their PCs, but many do not understand the need to protect themselves from ‘back-door’ surges, such as those from communication lines and computer peripherals.

He equally recommended APC power protection for PCs and peripherals including printers, telephone/fax lines and cable modems, as well as other sensitive household devices such as televisions, stereo systems, digital video display (DVD) players, and satellite dishes.

He enlightened that power protection begins with combating against surges and spikes, advising that the first consideration should be to keep the hardware itself safe from damage. When purchasing a surge protector the lower the let-through voltage rating, the better users’ equipment would be protected.

“A surge protector should also offer a warranty that not only covers the surge protection device, but the electronic equipment that it is protecting,” he said.

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