Commercial Property Owners Guide to Emergency Power

If you own a commercial property, you know there’s lots to think about in addition to filling the spaces with tenants. Safety and security is a big deal, and that includes taking care of things such as making sure the power stays on even when there’s an outage caused by storms or some other natural or manmade situation.

When your power goes out in your own home, you know what to do. If you have a generator, you can get it going so that you’re able to restore the power you need to get on with your daily life. However, those in a commercial property – be it residential or business – may not know what to do when power outages occur, so it’s up to you – the property owner – to have plans in place and to relay those plans and processes to your tenants.

Power outages can leave tenants both flustered and frustrated, especially if they don’t know what to do when one happens. That’s why it’s a wise idea to put things in writing so that tenants know where to turn when the lights go out.

Let’s consider this a bit more in-depth.

Ways to avoid power outages

Of course, some power outages will have no bearing on any steps you take to avoid them. They will happen anyway due to issues with your power company and so forth. But there are ways you can address other issues that may cause outages.

If electrical storms are a huge problem in your area, lightning arrestors or lightning “rods” are a wise idea. Storms are indeed the most prevalent cause of outages and addressing lightning strikes with something as simple as a rod can save you plenty of time and money.

If your property includes a lot of trees, keep them trimmed and away from wires. Get rid of any loose branches that could break free and cut down any trees that seem to be unhealthy. You don’t want those trees to fall on wires or on anywhere else where they can cause outages or other kinds of damage.

Wildlife can also be a concern. If you’ve got wires that can be accessed by animals, be sure to erect barriers that will keep them out so they can’t chew through them and cause outages. Money spent on a fence or other safeguard will, again, save you money in the long run.

Invest in standby power sources

Whether you own an apartment building or a business complex, you likely understand how important it is for your tenants to enjoy uninterrupted power. This is especially true for companies who will lose valuable time and money if they experience downtime. Just think of the customers lost or data that can’t be accessed when there’s no power.

As such, you’ll want to investigate a back-up generator for your commercial property. There are a variety of options available, including propane, diesel, and natural gas generators. Speak to an expert to determine which type and size is right for your application.

Back-up generators work by automatic transfer. In other words, as soon as your primary power goes out, the generator begins to do its work. When your main power is restored, similarly, the generator switches off and you’re back to using your primary source. Most are programmed to kick on in just seconds so that there’s little to no interruption. It’s that easy.

Have a plan in place

So, you’ve considered what to do for back-up power and how to handle other factors around your property that may be the impetus for a power failure. It’s also important, however, to relay to your tenants what they should do in case of an outage and in case any back-up power supply does not function as it should.

What to include in your tenant handbook:
  • Who your tenant needs to call in case of an outage. You can have them call you or simply call the power company directly, if necessary. Include specific instructions on how to reach you or the person you’ve appointed to be in charge of such events.
  • Provide “shelter in place” instructions in case the power outage involves a situation that could put your tenants in danger. For example, if you have a communal area in the building, everyone might be instructed to go there. If your commercial property is a large structure, include a map of the building.
  • Provide your tenants with emergency supplies that can help them when a power outage occurs. This could include flashlights, other battery-operated light sources, and – of course – extra batteries. Store them in an easy-to-find location.
  • Attach these plans to the lease and also post another copy where it can be easily retrieved by residents or business tenants.


Being well-prepared will reflect well on you as a landlord or property owner and your tenants will appreciate the fact that your forethought will keep their homes or businesses running without interruption. Western Oil Services can provide you with more information about back-up power for those pesky outages and are eager to help you find the right solution for your back-up power needs, regardless of the size and scope of your property. For more information, contact us at 604-514-4787.