Expanding our Ability to Remain Reliable, Even in Emergency Situations
In 2016, we at SCL made the decision to invest in the installation of two emergency generator systems at our Vista and San Marcos locations, providing 2 fully-operational emergency fueling options for North San Diego and all of San Diego County. With the installation of these two generator systems, commercial and retail operators as well as the general public now have fueling resources in the event of a natural emergency such as an earthquake or a rolling blackout situation.
The Investment of Installing an Emergency Generator
Installing an emergency generator at two of our San Diego service stations was an investment of over $100,000, but to deliver on our commitment to being a reliable logistics and solutions provider to our customers, it was essential for keeping businesses up and running in the face of an emergency situation. With these resources available to the community, critical entities such as fire, police and ambulance services can continue doing their job without having to worry about the impacts of fuel interruption. They can remain mobile in the face of natural disasters or events such as the 2011 rolling blackout – the largest power failure in California history that left 1.4 million San Diego residents without power. During the 2011 blackout, dubbed the Southwest Blackout, or the Great Blackout, businesses and the general public were unable to get fuel since gas and service stations run their pumps and credit card processing systems on electricity coming from the grid. Fuel resources during an event of this magnitude were minimal to non-existent since the problem lay not in fuel supply, but in available electricity, which allows for the powering of fuel pumps. Therefore, when the grid went down, everything went down.
To ensure that our municipal partners such as fire departments, police fleets and ambulances remain operational and have peace of mind to respond to emergencies as necessary, making this investment in our community and our customers was a no-brainer. Staying consistent with our value proposition of being reliable and safety-oriented, the development of this emergency infrastructure, along with a backup contingency plan that allows our pumps to remain on along with the internet required to run credit card processing, we can service our customer’s fueling needs during times of emergency. In a worse-case scenario, we have the capability to manually operate our pumps, going into “limp mode” until power is restored and remaining true to our commitment to serve our customers no matter what. Because we only have so much fuel on-hand at any given time, we will enter into a critical service scenario, prioritizing emergency medical systems and the most critical civic functions. When EMS and other vital municipalities have been sufficiently served, we will then ration the remaining fuel to our customers as needed.
Reliability and Security
Says Travis Becktel, SCL General Manager, “We can power the entirety of these two facilities with the generators we have sourced. If electricity from the grid is intermittent, which we don’t have control over, our independent power stations can function on normal levels, unless there’s an unforeseen break in the line elsewhere. At that point, we can’t do much else so instead we will manually record fueling and payment transactions. Under extreme conditions, we might even move to a cash system based on the impact of other technology such as wifi and cable networks being down.” Says Becktel, “Reliability is one of the biggest things we can offer our customers and how reliable we are when the power goes out is of the utmost importance to us at SCL. Our value proposition lies in the fact that not many commercial gas stations offer a contingency plan of this magnitude due to the fact that it is such a significant investment being that natural disasters are both unpredictable and few and far between. I prefer people over profits in these scenarios. It helps me sleep better at night.”
How it Works
The backup emergency generator systems at SCL have been stress tested to maximum capacity, which means we can have fully operational gas stations with all pumps and critical components running simultaneously. Both generators have the ability to handle power surges using all energy resources. The design of the system took a tremendous amount of analysis to properly calibrate the units to be able to handle significant power loads. The system includes a bypass connection cable network where the units can be directly wired into our grid. An electrical bypass unit differentiates between grid and or generator power, managing any intermittent interruptions should grid power remain an unreliable energy source. The units also have intuitive transfer capabilities that will terminate generator power input once the grid has re-established itself as a reliable energy source. If the power is coming in and out, the generator is simply set to AUTO to be able to properly respond to the energy demands of the gas station. According to Becktel, “The system is intuitive and reads when there is power coming from the grid and when it’s out. When it’s out, the generators kick on, allowing us to remain open for business and in full support of our customers.”
A Worthy Insurance Policy
Says Becktel, “Installing these emergency generators was basically a $100,000 insurance policy. We undertook the endeavor of owning these commercial gas stations that support a lot of local municipalities. We enjoy these strong partnerships with them and wanted to be able to say, ‘you can count on us to support you no matter what. When there’s an issue, we will be here – open and available to service your needs with our emergency generator resources. We care about helping support our emergency responders and municipalities because these units just might be the difference between saving a life or not.”
Contact an SCL Consultant today
In a wide range of industrial sectors, if there’s metal touching metal, oil is involved. At SCL, we’re here to protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving and we pride ourselves on providing superior logistics and solutions, extensive product and industry knowledge and total performance satisfaction for our customers. As a safety precaution we highly encourage our partners to periodically re-evaluate their emergency response and or contingency plans in the event of a natural disaster or power outage. For more information on how to assess your emergency response plans, contact an SCL consultant today.