Blue Chip stays up when the grid goes down during largest power outage for decades

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Blue Chip Blog
09 Sep 2019
Blue Chip stays up when the grid goes down during largest power outage for decades

Lightning strike on National Grid transmission circuit at Eaton Socon-Wymondley Main, 16:52 09/08/2019. This results in two power sources reducing their energy supplies to the grid.

  • Hornsea off-shore windfarm
  • Little Barford gas power station

1.1 million customers were left without power for around 15-20 minutes. Critical facilities were included among this, such as Ipswich Hospital and Newcastle Airport.

Bedford – the town where Blue Chip is based - was one of the areas affected. The supply to us from the national grid was interrupted.

How did this affect Blue Chip and its customers?

When we have an interruption of power to our sites, our resilient UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) will provide electricity to our critical infrastructure. These are set up to provide N+1 redundancy.

While this is happening, the backup 700 kVA generators will be running up and synchronising with each other. When this is achieved, the generators will take oversupplying the sites. These generators are also configured with N+1 redundancy.

As we have a Tier 4 design data centre, it is backed by twice the level of N+1 redundancy. It’s common for a typical data centre to have back-up power from a generator and a UPS, along with an extra set for back-up. By having twice this amount, we can say we offer 2 x N+1 redundancy, a rarity in this country.

Blue Chip came through this nationwide power outage without any impact on the customers housed within our data centres. The UPS filtration we have in place isolates us from lightning strikes.

UPS filtration at our Tier 4 design data centre
Blue Chip’s backup power generation on the B side comprising 2 x 700 kVA units, providing 2 x N+1 redundancy. Part of our Tier 4 Design Data Centre.

The fact that Blue Chip was not affected during this power outage is a testament to the design of our data centres and the diligence shown by the on-site engineers, who ensure that when our equipment is required, it is operational.

This is achieved by a comprehensive maintenance program and monthly mains failure simulation. When you combine this with the continual investment in the sites, it means that when the power goes off elsewhere, Blue Chip and our customers can be confident their IT equipment is in the right place.

If you have any questions regarding this topic why not contact Blue Chip or email me at: eamonns@bluechip.co.uk

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This article was written by Eamonn Sheridan.

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