Electrical system risks that threaten your business profitability

Overlooking your power distribution systems can have a serious effect on your wealth. Yet, because they are so dependable, they may not be getting the attention they deserve. In a recent white paper, Schneider Electric considered the nine electrical system risks that directly threaten your business profitability.

Modern facility managers operate and maintain complex electrical distribution systems that represent the life blood of their site’s operations. There is constant pressure to maintain operations in a safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable manner.

While electrical distribution equipment is typically dependable with long lifespans, unexpected and sudden failures can occur. The white paper describes nine commonly overlooked electrical system risks to availability and provides high level guidance on how to reduce or mitigate these risks.


For the modern site manager, there are many complex systems to oversee. However, their fundamental responsibility is to ensure uninterrupted operations to achieve business targets.

Whether it is manufacturing production, hospital healthcare services, safe airport operations, computer centres or commercial enterprises, a reliable and steady flow of electricity is critical. An unexpected shutdown of the electrical system, or parts thereof, can lead to significant costs in lost productivity, risks to health & safety, or even loss of life.

Unfortunately, it is too easy to overlook the health of the site electrical system and the risks to its stability remain unknown. While electrical distribution equipment is typically reliable with long lifespans, unexpected and sudden failures can still occur. The white paper examines some commonly overlooked risks to electrical system availability.

Electrical system risks

Yet, taking the initiative of having the electrical system assessed by qualified personnel will identify all these risks. Implementing appropriate mitigation plans will prevent them from resulting in system failures and from becoming risks again in the future.

The white paper describes in detail the nine electrical system risks to most electrical installation, including:

• Inadequate electrical power system design

• Missing or outdated single line diagrams

• Inadequate protection coordination

• Lack of arc flash mitigation and surge protection

• Lack of equipment training

• Insufficient power monitoring

• Insufficient maintenance practices

• Limited availability of spare parts

• Obsolete equipment

Missed opportunities

Many of the risks to an electrical system’s performance and reliability are due to an expectation that electrical equipment is robust and reliable. Whilst that is true for the design of electrical equipment and to the low demands required of electrical systems in terms of maintenance and management, this can also lead the site manager to overlook risks. While these risks are low, the impacts of electrical issues can be severe.

Risks include complete and continued shutdown of the electrical system and the site’s operations but can also extend to injury and even death to site personnel. Fortunately, once identified, all the risks on the power distribution system are manageable and avoidable through simple initiative-taking measures.

Improving operational expenditure

Where appropriate, outsourcing these measures to qualified service providers can provide site assessments to quantify any electrical system risks. They can also provide other tangential benefits including energy savings and decreased operational expenditure (Opex) costs in the long-term. Furthermore, improving the lifespan of existing assets helps to optimise the capital expenditure (Capex) for the site.

Engaging in these activities will help ensure a modern electrical installation to avoid the risks of obsolete equipment. One that also performs at peak reliability and availability, and that it is safe for the health and well-being of site operator and personnel.

BPX is the UK’s leading Master Distributor for Schneider Electric and handles advanced and complex industrial projects to deliver customised solutions to our customers. We provide technical support, help with communications and connectivity, remote maintenance access to distribution, automation, and motion control.

Recent blog posts