Determining Your Power Needs

Properly determining your business facility's power needs is essential to setting up a fast response and cost-effective system that will ensure that you find the right rental supplier. Planning for your temporary power needs involves understanding the following issues:

Defining Your Facility Power Needs


Sizing and Equipment:

What needs power? First, it is important to know how much power is required. To do this, it is important to determine the maximum amount of time that can be allowed for downtime. This can be quantified by the calculation of impact from the loss of production per second, minute, hour or day.

What size rental generator is needed to power the load? Most rental generator sets fit just about any application and can function all the time – supplementing utility power during normal operation, or before it has been permanently established and providing backup during outages caused by utility grid failure or natural disasters. An amperage chart will help determine the appropriately sized generator unit to meet any amperage needs and utility configuration.

What other equipment and services are needed and is the unit adequately equipped with plug-ins for running accessory equipment? A generator may require certain ancillary equipment and features to meet a facility’s needs effectively, such as cables, transformers, ramps, distribution panels, spider boxes, etc. Generator sets are also available that can simultaneously handle a combination of 120/208 volt and 480/277 volt for accessory equipment plug-ins. In order to determine the right ancillary equipment and services, it is important to understand the mechanical and logistical requirements of setting up rental power at the facility.

Basic Rental Needs


Mechanical Requirements:

Is the generator portable? For maximum mobility, most rental generators are skid-mounted on fuel tank bases or trailer/van-mounted depending on their size – commonly ranging from 10kW to 2MW.

Where should the generator be placed? Units are placed outside and cannot be located too close to building air intakes, loading docks, or areas with poor access or ventilation. Attention must also be paid to how a fuel truck will access the unit for refueling.

Is a sound-attenuated generator needed? It is also important to be aware of the neighboring businesses and/or residences, and whether there’s a need a generator sound-attenuated for low noise operations. If so, a rental generator should have a sound-attenuation rating below 92db(A) at full load or better.

How will cable be routed? Attention must be paid to where and how power cables will be connecting the generator to the electrical distribution boxes (or equipment) to avoid security, fire safety, or environmental problems. Cable ramps allow multiple cables to be safely and compactly routed around a work site. Spider boxes serve as a base for multiple plug-ins for power distribution.

Will an auto-start/stop connection be needed? This is a critical feature if the rental generator will be backing up a permanent standby unit. This feature will start and stop the rental generator automatically if your standby unit fails.

Logistical Requirements


What does the rental supplier have available and how quickly can it be supplied? A good power rental supplier will offer a full range of power generators that come with everything necessary to make the unit installation turnkey.

Will the rental supplier deliver the generator and related equipment? If yes, the company should find out if the supplier offers deliveries around the clock or on holidays. If a company wishes to handle its own freight, then its truck must be able to handle the weight load of the equipment and be able to safely offload.

Who will be responsible for setting up and maintaining the equipment? What technical service/support does the unit require during operation? Hooking up and maintaining the generator is a critical responsibility that must be handled by a qualified technician. Certain services (e.g. oil) must be performed with frequency depending on the rate of operation and length of time the unit is needed. Maintenance highlights an important reason why even if a company has invested in a standby generator it is important to have a rental backup plan. Standby generators stand idle for most of the time and require thorough maintenance upkeep (checking batteries, fuel levels, leaks, etc.). If a company doesn’t perform regular maintenance on their standby unit, it is not guaranteed to cover their facility in an outage.

Will there be enough fuel; if not, who will handle fueling? It is important to be aware of how much fuel the rental generator can hold, so that the necessary fuel schedule can be established. To determine how many tanks of fuel are needed during your rental period, check the fuel capacity and rate of consumption. Typically, gensets should run for eight hours without requiring a refuel. If the unit is expected to run for an extended period of time, an auxiliary fuel tank will help decrease fuel delivery costs, and provide extended operation during emergencies.

What security is required? The rental generator unit should be designed with lockable doors, oil and water drains located inside the unit, and hidden exterior fuel drains to maintain security. The supplier should offer remote monitoring capabilities that will provide 24-hour basic monitoring and control of the unit.

What happens if the rental generator goes down? Utilizing rental power grants the freedom of not worrying about a budget for maintenance upkeep or the day-to-day cost of owning a generator set. However, it is important to highlight that a rental generator is only as reliable as the supplier who backs it. Power rental suppliers should provide quality rental-grade generators. Some rental suppliers offer contingency-power rental agreements, which allot that adequate rental power will be delivered to your site within a certain window of time depending on conditions made.