UST This UST white paper was first published in October, 2013 under the title, “Quiet Generators. Happy Guests.” The pdf can be downloaded here.

Once, vacationing meant occasionally tolerating rustic conditions. No longer. The modern consumer expects a “quality power experience” wherever they go. Anything less immediately generates a demand for comp days and the posting of bad online reviews.

In developed regions of the world, this is not a big problem.

But as the demand for exotic travel experiences grows, resort developers are increasingly building in places where power quality remains a significant challenge – the Caribbean, Central America, South America, the South Pacific, much of Africa, and parts of Asia. Until very recently, in order to ensure that essential services could be maintained, engineers had to design backup power systems that would start the moment a power anomaly occurred, sever the connection to the local grid and supply power independently, not only during blackouts, but also during more prevalent brownouts, sags and surges.

Within the last decade, an extremely reliable and low maintenance technology, automatic voltage regulators, also know as electronic voltage regulators (EVRs), have proven very effective at compensating for variations in incoming voltage.

When an EVR is placed between the source and the load, many of the electrical “events” that cause traditional backup systems to engage can be safely bridged. Further, and more importantly, an automatic voltage regulator allow facilities of any size to remain connected to the local source, through brownouts, sags and surges of any duration, while still providing full power for all guest services.

The development of the EVR changes the formula for backup power system design.

In this paper, we compare the total owning cost of a backup power system with and without an EVR for a typical hotel, resort or casino located in a region of poor power quality. Factoring in purchase price, maintenance costs and fuel costs, we compute a raw figure for the number of brownout hours per year that justify a hotel, casino or resort adding an EVR to its backup power system. We also take it a step further. Because an EVR can fully compensate and allow a facility to remain at full power even during extended brownouts, we suggest adopting a more liberal formula for determining an EVR’s true return on investment—one that factors in fewer room compensation claims, fewer negative reviews and uninterrupted uptime of revenue-generators, such as slot machines and other pay-to-play attractions.

Modern travelers have grown increasingly intolerant of disruptions even minor power fluctuations can cause. Often, guests will demand full compensation for days inconvenienced by even modest service interruptions.