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powering events using mains electricity versus generators

Powering Events – Mains Electricity Versus Generators

At Rubber Box, we pride ourselves on designing power distribution systems that are easy to use, which means that our clients can install and operate our products alone, with little need for our technicians to travel to the event. However, though we rarely go out onsite ourselves, we know that no matter what sort of event you’re doing, they all follow the same basic rules – and some of those concern the difference between mains and generator electricity.

The Mains Thing To Remember about electricity

mains switch

At Rubber Box we’d always recommend connecting to mains power over generators if you have the option. There are several reasons for this – namely that we’re lucky enough in the UK to have a consistent, relatively reliable central power grid. Not all other countries are so lucky! Therefore it only makes sense to take advantage of this wherever you can, and make mobile generators your Plan B, not the other way around. What’s more, power from the grid is readily available and has a very low unit-cost compared to generators, which are yet more reasons why it’s a preferable source of power.

We’ve often found that it’s not the presence of mains power that’s the problem, but more the issue of access to it. In most cases, it’s easier and cheaper to install a dedicated power socket to an existing mains system rather than rely on generators. You’ve still got to consider factors like the distance to the power distribution box, associated costs and permissions from the building’s owners, but even all that can still be less hassle than getting a generator. Listed buildings can occasionally pose a problem, as legislation can get in the way of such installations, but that’s where generators can help.

Electricity Generating Solutions

mobile power generator

We don’t want to sound like we’re unconditionally opposed to generators – we just want to reinforce that they should always be the backup plan. And as backup plans go, they’re not bad. They’re essentially diesel engines attached to dynamos, with the latter being powered by the former to produce electricity. There are some inherent risks involved with using them though – namely that they’re less reliable as a general rule than mains electricity. If you’re unprepared, an outage could basically shut down your event for minutes (or worst case scenario even hours) at a time. For this reason, it’s good to have a backup generator just in case. If you’re thinking “argh, sounds expensive”, indeed it can be – that’s why we recommend mains! What’s more, they often require trained technicians to be on hand in order to smoothly make the switch from one generator to another. Without getting too technical, electrical systems often need to be switched back on in complex sequences in order to work correctly when they’re back up and running, so it’s best to have someone well-versed in engineering on hand to do this.

This is just one of the very basic concerns when providing power at an event, and we’ve omitted a lot of the technical detail for ease of reading. If you’d like answers in more depth, you can always contact us on 01282 677 910. In the meantime, you can get clued in on how we’ve already provided power to the Olympics and other huge events around the world.

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