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Blame the rugby flags

01 Apr 2012

Rugby flags and bunting were responsible for two power outages in Auckland during the 2011 rugby World Cup celebrations, while possums and seagulls also caused power disruptions around New Zealand according to Eaton’s Australian and New Zealand Blackout Tracker Annual Report for 2011.

Despite the 121 power outages covered – affecting more than one million people and lasting on average just over seven hours – the power management company says data centres showed slightly less impact from outages in 2011, with only two centres reporting problems, compared to three in 2010. The Polaris data centre in Queensland lost mains power for ‘a number of hours’ and the facility did not move to redundant supplies, while Virgin Blue’s data centre also lost power causing interruptions to check-in and online bookings systems.

Michael Mallia, Eaton senior product line manager power quality, Asia Pacific electrical sector, says many businesses simply cease to function when a data centre is not operating. “This means the financial effects of even a brief outage can be significant.”He says companies need to look not just at their own power protection plans but also at whether their data centre is properly equipped with surge protectors, uninterruptible power supplies and generators.

New Zealand accounted for 36 of the outages, with the South Island reporting the second highest number of outages across ANZ, at 21, behind New South Wales (27). The North Island came fourth with 15, behind Queensland (20).

And as for those flags – the first incident occurred when underground power lines were cut while erecting a flagpole and the second when bunting was flung into above ground electrical wires.

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