When the budget is tight, business owners are forced to decide where to cut costs. Oftentimes, they plan for only what’s pressing their attention at the moment: employee pay, utility bills, material costs — the bare essentials. What they sometimes forget or, when forced to trim expenditures, neglect is preventative maintenance on their electrical systems, the very systems which power about everything needed for them to run their business.
Their choice is understandable. Recurring maintenance isn’t cheap. But by calling upon electricians for minimum maintenance or only for emergencies is a mistake. Not only do managers put employees at risk for accidents and the business at risk for lost productivity, but they risk spending more money than they would if they were to invest in properly maintaining their electrical systems.
Professionals Advocate Maintenance Programs for Electrical Systems
The National Fire Protection Association has for decades advocated businesses to maintain their electrical equipment. According to the NFPA:
“A well-administered Electrical Preventive Maintenance program reduces accidents, saves lives and minimizes costly breakdowns and unplanned outages. Impending troubles can be identified, and solutions applied, before they become major problems requiring more expensive, time-consuming solutions.” (NFPA 70B – 2013, Section 4.2.1)
An unmaintained electrical system is a liability managers cannot ignore. The NFPA isn’t the only organization to suggest this. In Maintenance Excellence, Optimizing Equipment Life Cycle Decisions, John Campbell shows that it costs three times as much for the same number of hours worked responding to electrical emergencies as it does maintaining electrical systems.
After study, he devised this formula for how much electrical work costs:
Planned electrical work = $1.00
Unplanned electrical work = $1.50
Emergency electrical work = $3.00
This means that every three hours of preventative work is equal to the cost for one hour of emergency work.
Maintaining Electrical Systems Saves Money
Spending more on maintenance rather than responding to problems on the backend results in money saved. For this reason, it really is best for businesses to hire electricians who can maintain systems full-time or to purchase a maintenance program from a local electrical company.
So, if you’re still unsure whether such a program will result in savings, consider conducting your own study. Gather financial records for the past five to ten years and compare costs for past electrical repairs without a program to the cost of a maintenance program. You can get a quote for a maintenance program by contacting an electrician in your area.