NTS News

Hurricane Katrina

Backup Batteries and Emergency Power

When Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeastern United States, over eight million Americans were without power. 20% of New York State and a whopping 60% of the State of New Jersey was without power.   Despite the loss of power, many of these Americans had cell phone service. This is because many cell phone towers have backup batteries or backup generators in case of emergency.

Cell phone companies were not always prepared for such a catastrophe. The cause of their preparation is due to a hurricane that resulted in the death of over 1400 people: Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina took out about two-thirds of New Orleans cell towers. This left only a third of the entire city with cell phone coverage.

Hurricane Katrina was a tremendous tragedy, and that’s why the Federal Communications Commission released a “Katrina Panel Order.” The Order recommends that almost all of the nation’s cell phone towers and other important pieces of the mobile infrastructure be equipped with at least eight hours of backup power.

Backup batteries can produce up to eight hours of power, but backup generators can provide power for up to a couple of days. The problem with Hurricane Sandy was people went without power for up to two weeks. A lose of power for that long could be detrimental to any business.

Loss of power is the most common reason cell phone towers go down. That’s why one service provider claims that 90% of their towers have backup power. In 2003, a major blackout wiped out power for much of the Northeastern US. Customers of this company remember having cell phone service despite the loss of power. Another company is developing batteries built especially for cell phone towers. They already have a utility company signed on to buy at least 6000 of their batteries. These will be used in an area of the world notorious for power outages.

Does your business have backup power? Will you be ready when emergency strikes? Contact NTS today!