Master Power Technologies (MPT) has reported growing demand for secure power solutions as South African companies seek to contain rising electricity costs, reduce the operational risks of load shedding, and ensure business continuity in the face of a renewed electricity crisis in South Africa.

That’s according to Menno Parsons, CEO and power-supply expert at MPT, a company that provides high-quality backup power solutions for industries where uptime is critical, such as manufacturing, mining, telecommunications, and data centres.

“Without a reliable electricity supply, South African organisations are relooking their power management and business continuity strategies.”

Parsons says that many South African companies are finding that their powerup infrastructure is not up to the job with high levels of failure or downtime. They are evaluating infrastructure such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), generator systems and other power management solutions to uncover opportunities for optimisation.

Parsons says: “Since load shedding first became part of South Africa’s vocabulary nearly a dozen years ago, most large industrial companies have made significant investments in secure power solutions and redundant power supplies. However, many of them are finding that the infrastructure they have in place is not fit for purpose.”

Many companies have, for example, invested in products and solutions that are complex to maintain and operate, and lack the specialised skills to manage the equipment. Others have found that it is difficult to source spares and parts for the products they have bought, especially if they made their investments five or 10 years back.

“With the boom in demand for power management solutions a decade ago, the market was flooded with suppliers and products that have not endured,” says Parsons. “The result is that many companies are today sitting without reliable support for their solutions. Another issue is that many organisations are dealing with multiple service providers and suppliers, leading to higher costs and complexity.”

As a result, organisations are starting to look for single-source providers that cover sales, installation, support and maintenance of turnkey solutions spanning generators, UPS, generators and more, adds Parsons. Another trend is the move towards higher levels of automation and remote monitoring.

MPT, for example, runs a real-time operations centre for monitoring secure power critical equipment 24 x 7 x 365. It monitors electrical equipment to ensure it is operating at optimal capacity and to pre-empt any problems. When a Universal Controller detects an issue, which can be anything from a mains failure to a battery failure in a UPS installation, it raises an alarm and MPT’s operators take action in line with standard operating procedures.

Parsons says many energy experts predict we will face five years or more of Eskom load shedding, which means organisations will need to invest in reliable backup solutions to supplement grid power. “Most companies make these investments on a horizon of five to 20 years, so it is important to buy good brands from reputable companies that will be around to support the solutions for years to come,” he adds.

“There is also an opportunity for companies to look at energy efficiency optimisation solutions as a means to reducing operational costs and their carbon footprint. Companies can benefit by taking a proactive stance to the energy crisis and creating a strategy that ensures continuity and operational efficiency in the longer term.”