The growing electricity demands being placed on the country’s century-old grid are resulting in an increased number of unexpected power outages across the U.S.

In fact, the U.S. endures more blackouts than any other developed nation. According to federal databases at the Department of Energy (DOE) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the number of U.S. outages lasting more than an hour has increased steadily over the past decade.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that a growing number of Americans are seeking reliable electrical supply. For contractors and construction professionals, this means both residential and commercial customers will be interested in learning about their backup power options — which is why it’s important to be well-versed in reliable, portable, and efficient backup power fuels.

Propane has become increasingly popular because of the advantages it offers. Most notably, propane backup power provides affordable resilience for everyone: homeowners, businesses, commercial building owners and operators, and more.


How do grid failures and power outages affect commercial customers?

An interruption to power can take its toll on a business including loss in productivity, sales, and product, as well as brand damage and safety issues. According to data from the DOE, power outages can cost businesses as much as $150 billion per year. Whether voluntarily or based on code requirements, many commercial buildings are incorporating backup power systems to avoid these costly challenges.

S&C Electric Company surveyed facility and energy managers of commercial and industrial businesses across the U.S. in 2018 and found that productivity loss and delays within service, deliveries, and production were the top two problems faced by businesses as a result of power outages. The same study found that around 82% of all businesses experience an outage at least every two years, and 24% of respondents experience an outage once a month or more.


How do grid failures and power outages affect residential customers?

Eaton’s Blackout Tracker Annual Report looks at the scope and severity of power outages across the country. According to its 2017 report, 36.7 million people were affected by 3,526 power outages, and the average power outage lasted approximately 81 minutes. Recently, the devastating weather in Texas left millions without heat, water, or electricity for several days during freezing temperatures. Additionally, over one million people were without power and air conditioning following hurricane Ida in Louisiana, and California’s rolling blackouts and wildfires create significant challenges for homeowners on a regular basis.

Power outages can impact a variety of systems in the home, including smoke and fire alarms, refrigeration units, heating and cooling systems, health and safety equipment, and many other applications. Helping customers select reliable backup power allows them to avoid unplanned power outages, continue operating appliances in their home, and ultimately save money and stress. This is especially important for customers who rely on electricity to power medical equipment or work from home and need uninterrupted power.


The reliability and versatility of propane power generation

The staggering statistics outlined above reinforce the need for reliable, affordable power in residential and commercial projects. Everyone needs to be able to bounce back. Fortunately, propane offers scalability and performance to power any size of project or business.

Whether used for towable and portable power on construction sites, prime power generation in businesses, or standby power in a home, propane offers reliable power and versatility. And with a propane backup generator, construction professionals can give customers more than just nonstop power — they can provide affordable peace-of-mind, too.

When it comes to selecting a backup power fuel, propane offers benefits. For example, propane’s has an indefinite shelf life and can be stored for extremely long periods without degrading.

Propane tanks can provide scalable on-site storage for backup power systems of any size. On-site fuel storage is an important consideration and can help ensure that the generator is ready to operate and won’t be subject to upstream fuel reliability issues.

Surprising to some, propane offers more environmental protection compared with other options. Propane burns clean, reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, particulate matter, and CO2 emissions. According to data from the DOE, propane produces 16% fewer carbon emissions per unit of energy compared with diesel. Propane is also non-toxic, non-poisonous, and won’t contaminate soil or water.

Because of propane’s energy versatility, it can power many other major energy systems and appliances throughout a home or building, too. In fact, residential and commercial customers can attain whole-building standby protection at an affordable price by combining a propane generator with a suite of propane appliances that operate full time including space heating, water heating, cooking, fireplaces, clothes dryers, and outdoor amenities. Plus, having propane appliances throughout a building can actually reduce its reliance on standby power, oftentimes allowing customers to downsize to a smaller, more affordable backup unit to power lighting and ventilation fans.

Construction professionals: now is the time to start a conversation with your customers about resiliency, preparedness, and the power of propane generators—ultimately giving you a leg up on the competition.