Power outages are always a disruptive inconvenience in our lives, but that won’t stop them from happening every now and then. This is especially true since fires are becoming more common in California. If you want to avoid these unexpected downtimes, you need an electrical supply you can count on, even during PG&E’s public safety power shutoff events. This is important not only for households, but also for businesses and commercial properties. Generators are an investment that can save you money in the long run by preventing downtime. They’re a great backup for when sudden power outages occur.
There are two main types of generators: stationary and portable / towable. In this article, we’ll focus on stationary generators and how you can keep them up and running.
New Generator Timeline for Commercial Application
The job of installing a new stationary generator is a process that requires a professional with the necessary experience for a project like this. It’s certainly not something a layperson can figure out on their own, even if they’re usually pretty handy.
[Updated for 2022 lead times] Let’s look at a
one-year two year plan. Now, a year may seem like plenty of time, but remember that it can take longer in some situations. Month 1 Months 1 & 2: You and an engineer will develop and finalize a comprehensive plan to submit to your city building department for approval. Months 2 to 5 Months 3 to 6: Expect 2 to 3 4 to 6 weeks each for your city’s engineering and other departments to review and approve your plan, depending on the backlogs they have to get through. The larger the generator, the more exacting the regulations are.
At all levels, they stream out in a constant flow of change. Likely, the regulations that dictated your old generator’s placement and operation will have changed since you had it installed. Even your current generator’s location may not be compliant under today’s requirements for separation from a building, especially regarding its proximity to windows. You will also need an air quality permit. Once you receive the green light on your plan, you can execute the purchase and begin preparations for the site.
Months 6 to 9 Months 7 to 18: After you have ordered the generator, expect 4 months (or more) for delivery. Months 10 to 11 Months 19 – 22: Once you receive the delivery, there’s still work to do. Installation, additional electrical work, startup, and testing all take time. Month 12 Months 23 – 24: Testing will be required for compliance with all regulatory statutes.
One thing to keep in mind is that the timeline of this schedule is not absolute. This means that your experience could be shorter or longer, depending on the circumstances. A good rule of thumb is to expect everything to be completed within a year, but the installation process can take anywhere between a few months to more than a year.
What Some Organizations are Doing to Prep for Backup Power
In some cases, we are helping our customers tackle their backup power plan in two stages. This year, we’re steering them to:
- install an automatic transfer switch (ATS)
- do site prep work, like pouring the concrete pad
- reserve one of our portable generators for their use in the event of an outage.
Meanwhile, they are moving through the process outlined in this post to get their stationary generator up and running in time for next year’s fire season.
Partner with a company like CD & Power that can help you with every step along the way. At the outset, we will evaluate your needs and help identify the right type, size, and brand of generator. Next, we will work with you to smoothly get through the regulatory hurdles specific to your location, and select reputable contractors to execute the work. Once it’s installed, we can train your team to properly monitor the generator’s maintenance and performance so it remains ready to do its job for years to come.
Most importantly, we stock a large supply of portable generators for you to rent in the event of a power outage. Just remember, the demand for rentals is at an all-time high. Contact us at (866) 468-7697 to assess your needs, make a plan, and reserve the right size generator for your site. Learn about PG&E power shut-off policy and how to address it in your backup power plans.