PacB Group // The Importance of a Back-Up Power System for Shopping Malls


The Importance of a Back-Up Power System for Shopping Malls

Whilst navigating the aisles of a hypermarket, enjoying a skinny latte at a popular coffee chain, or just checking out a few boutiques for something to wear at an upcoming company soirée, one is unlikely to consider just how dependent both traders and shoppers are upon a continuous supply of electricity. However, without some means for shopping malls to provide back-up power when required, the customer experience might be a very different one, given the frequency of interruptions to the municipal supply, whether the result of storms, infrastructure failures, or planned outages.

In some stores, where the doors are electrically operated, staff and customers could find themselves locked in or out, or the doors might be unable to close, depending on their failsafe action. More significantly perhaps, parts of these outsized structures often have no natural light source, so everyone present could be left in total darkness. Even after hours, lighting plays an important role in maintaining building security.

In most cases, the anchor tenant is likely to be one of the nation’s leading supermarkets and thus one of its main functions will, of course, be the sale of perishables. Only the reliable back-up power systems available for malls can prevent the owners from suffering the potentially huge financial losses that can result when the electricity supply to their refrigerators and deep freezers is interrupted for a significant period. No less important, however, is that payment facilities such as tills and card machines that are wholly dependent upon electricity will no longer operate when their power is cut.

These are just a few of the many possible consequences of an electrical failure in any large retail centre. It is therefore important for centre management to be aware of the best options to protect the livelihood of its tenants, as well as the comfort and safety of their clients, in the event of outages. In practice, there is a choice of back-up power systems that are considered suitable for use in shopping malls.

Given the overall size of these structures, the number of retailers they tend to house and the range of electrical equipment that each one relies upon in order to function, the overall demand for electricity is vast and, in practice, only diesel generators have the capacity to meet the total load requirements if, for whatever reason, the municipal supply should be interrupted. Once operating, they can sustain their output almost indefinitely as long as they are supplied with fuel. However, while the inclusion of a programmable control panel can ensure a smooth transition between the mains and backup power for malls, in the case of a scheduled outage, when the interruption is unscheduled, a blackout period of up to 30 seconds before switching is common.

30 seconds do not seem too long, but it does mean that any computers operating at the time could suffer data loss or corruption, or even sustain damage. To guard against this, businesses often install a UPS or uninterruptible power supply. It consists of a collection of batteries that draws its charge from the mains whilst not in active use, but cuts in immediately when it can no longer detect mains activity to provide the required AC current with the aid of an inverter. Battery life varies according to size but will, at least, allow sufficient time for personnel to shut down PCs, servers, and networks safely.

A UPS alone will not provide sufficient back-up power to meet all the needs of a typical shopping mall and the most effective solution is likely to be a hybrid installation that combines the use of generators with an uninterruptible power supply. There are a number of possible configurations for such systems; each with its own attributes.

For the most suitable option for your mall, consult the back-up power experts at PacB Group. We will be able to help make sure that your specific needs are met at the most affordable price.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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