Retail Solutions

Without a capability to quickly and safely switch to an alternate power source, devastating hurricane seasons in Florida and along the Gulf Coast made a national retailer’s facilities vulnerable. Under the standard store design, the facilities were not equipped to be quickly switched to an alternate power source, which proved to be a liability in consistently attaining its goal of customer convenience. The liability also extended to a risk to property, personnel, perishable goods and lost sales during extended power outages.

Because these facilities were constructed over an extended period and represented continually changing demand needs, a single solution was impossible. The switch to an alternate power source had to allow for the isolation of services, ability to power critical and whole facility loads, no extended wait for resumed service from utility providers, and installation within a timeframe to create minimum impact on service to customers and community.

The head of the retailer’s electrical engineering group introduced the challenge to Eaton national account manager Aaron Rathbun in 2003, seeking a solution that would connect a generator to use for emergency power and isolate the utility service. Specifically, the engineering manager representing the customer wanted to know how the retrofit solution would be designed and implemented. He also insisted that the solution be safe, economical and have minimal impact on the facility. Eaton formed a team to find the answers and establish an industry-leading turnkey solution.

Design solutions featured the Cutler-Hammer Generator Quick Connect switchboard. The Generator Quick Connect switchboard is a fast method of safely connecting emergency power from a generator. By partnering with Eaton to provide a turnkey solution, the retailer now has the capability to safely switch its retrofitted facilities to an alternate power source when the standard utility source is not available. Installation of the Cutler- Hammer Generator Quick Connect switchboard in its facilities enables the retailer to switch to a generator immediately and disconnect from the utility power without requiring utility personnel to be involved.

The partnering effort achieved minimal impact on the retailer's standard operations, an effective solution without major construction and the use of only one supplier to complete the design and installation phases of the project. Most importantly, the retailer is able to provide its customers and community with the dependable service even during potentially devastating weather conditions.