Study Finds Most Small Businesses Lack Backup Power

Aug. 27, 2008
The majority of small U.S. companies do not have back-up power systems despite their awareness of the threat of power outages

According to results of a survey commissioned by Emerson Network Power, the majority of small U.S. companies do not have back-up power systems despite their awareness of the threat of power outages. While small-business decision makers ranked outages above fire, government regulation, weather damage, theft, and employee turnover as threats to their businesses, only 39% of them have back-up power systems, leaving 61% vulnerable to the negative business impacts of outages.

The survey also found that 79% of the small-business decision-makers surveyed experienced at least one power outage in 2007. Meanwhile, 67% of respondents anticipate experiencing outages again in the next 12 months. And of the small businesses that experienced outages in 2007, 42% had to close their businesses during the longest outages.

Emerson Network Power released the findings of the survey in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the Great Blackout of 2003, which began on Aug. 14, 2003, when an overgrown tree tangled with sagging power lines in Ohio and triggered a series of human and technology gaffes that resulted in the largest power outage in North American history. The blackout left 50 million people in the Northeastern United States and Canada in the dark – some for days – and cost the economy an estimated $6 billion in productivity.

To help small businesses understand the impacts of power outages, Emerson Network Power has launched a back-up power information resource at It includes an online tool small companies can use to measure their vulnerability to the impacts of outages.

About the Survey

Between June 17 and 30, 2008, Decision Analyst Inc., a marketing research and consulting firm, conducted an online survey of 451 small-business decision makers on the topic of power outages. Emerson Network Power commissioned the survey.

The survey was conducted using a proprietary online panel of more than 110,000 executives in businesses of all sizes. More than 27,000 of these executives are in small companies, defined as having 99 or fewer employees.

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