Why insurers should make use of a loadbank a condition of insurance

Everyday across industries worldwide, power failure or disturbance leads to loss of valuable data, waste of raw materials, decreases in productivity, increases in production time. The consequential losses are immense and the cost to insurers staggering. But these could be drastically reduced by making the use of a loadbank a condition of insurance.

A full test using a loadbank is essential for business continuity planning and should be completed before any assumption of risk. This is a very important aspect of overall risk management as most power failures are as a result of human error, poor maintenance or planning, rather than war, terrorism or natural disasters.

Initially there should be a witness test of the performance of the standby system following its installation and commissioning or any major upgrade. The witness test should include:

  • “Black starting” to ensure that in the event of a mains power failure the standby system is capable of taking up the full load within a time frame of ten to fifteen seconds of the generator starting. This is done by using the loadbank to ‘mimic’ the full operational load of the building or process.
  • Using the loadbank to simulate power failure under full demand to ensure that the controls and switch panels work as expected in real conditions, and that the automatic transfer switch that regulates the main loads continues to operate in sequence.
  • Testing the generator on full load at optimum operating temperature to reduce the chances of “wet stacking” which can cause engine failure.