Rental Power Planner

Electricity is never more scarce and precious than after a disaster. Lights are out, telephones disabled, businesses shut down. People may need food, water, heat, and medical attention. There can be no real recovery without power, yet no one can predict when utility service will come back.

Temporary Power: It's all about Planning

Backup power plays a critical role in recovery from all manner of disasters. Rental generator sets of all sizes can help sustain facilities that safeguard public health, safety, and welfare, and extended utility outages. In addition, rental power can bring life back to schools, stores, offices, factories, and homes while rebuilding moves forward, and the utility restores the grid.

Especially in the early stages, the speed of recovery depends on how well local authorities and private enterprises have planned for permanent or rental emergency power.

Emergency response experts advise against trying to plan for a specific event, such as a fire, flood, or tornado. Instead, they recommend looking at the common results of any disaster. Significant among these is loss of electric power. Extended power failures have many causes, some natural and others man-made, some predictable and others difficult even to imagine.

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Disaster Disaster

Our Easy, Three-Step Approach

Although critical, planning for power doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are three simple steps that will help you secure and maintain the rental power necessary to carry your facility successfully through a scheduled or emergency shutdown:





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Disaster Disaster

creating a three-step power plan

Rental Power Planner

Critical moments require critical power. We have developed a three-step approach to assist you with your power planning needs, from events and maintenance to emergencies. Find out how your Cat® dealer can provide you with quick, reliable power on the spot.

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Electrical Formulas

Electrical Formulas

Use these helpful formulas to calculate kilowatts, kVA, horsepower, and amperes required for your generator set rental project.

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The permanent solution to your temporary power needs.

Cat Dealers

Cat dealers offer the expertise and Cat Rental Power equipment to meet the temporary power needs of facilities of virtually any size. Professional assistance is offered before generator sets are installed and throughout the rental period. Scheduled maintenance and emergency service are standard.

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Your local Cat® dealer has many kinds of Cat Rental Power gensets and features to choose from.

Here are a few you should consider:

  • Sound-attenuation: You’ll need quiet gensets, called sound-attenuated units, if your facility is close to homes or other businesses.
  • Auto start/stop connections: This is a critical feature if you are using the rental gensets to back up permanent standby units. Auto start/stop will automatically start a rental generator if a standby unit goes down.
  • Distribution panel labeling: This helps inexperienced operators safely identify output voltages.
  • Radiator, exhaust discharge: Some gensets feature vertical radiator and exhaust systems to direct heat and exhaust gases up and away from people and buildings. These features are important in populated or high traffic areas.
  • Electronic governors: Specify these if you have critical loads that cannot tolerate fluctuations in electrical frequency. Examples include computers, motor-driven equipment, and other machines backed up by Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems.
  • Output bus bars: Bus bars should be spaced to allow for multiple output cable hookup. This lets you run several pieces of equipment off one rental genset.
  • Fuel capacity: Check the fuel capacity and consumption rate to determine how many tanks of fuel will get you through your rental period. Gensets should operate at least eight hours without refueling.
  • Fuel priming pump: This ensures easier starts after transport.
  • Charging alternator: This ensures batteries are charging when units are operating. Note: An outside power source is required for standby gensets if the unit is equipped with battery chargers and/or space heaters and jacket water heaters.
  • Sight gauges: Properly positioned sight gauges for fuel and other critical fluids speed up spot-checking, letting your staff spend more time on other matters.
  • Security: Gensets should be virtually tamperproof. Look for lockable doors, oil/water drains mounted inside enclosure, and hidden exterior fuel drains. All connections, such as output bus bars, should be covered.
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Rental Rental
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Arranging for equipment is only the first step in emergency power planning. The true test of a plan is how well it functions in practice. A power outage alone can create major logistical challenges as public agencies and businesses rush to provide temporary power.

For example, an outage affecting a large area can require the shipment of hundreds or even thousands of rental gensets within days. The challenges multiply after a natural disaster, as delivery of power must coordinate with the distribution of many necessities such as medical supplies, food, clothing, household goods, and building materials.

An effective plan assigns priorities to all major goods and services and their delivery. In a world that increasingly depends on electricity, a strong argument can be made for giving top priority to rental power. The sooner power is installed, the more efficiently all other materials and services can be delivered. Emergency planners must ensure that power for all purposes – public and private – arrives where it is needed and as quickly as possible.

Not all barriers are physical. For international shipments, slowdowns in customs can significantly delay delivery of power. Planners should consider proposing special legislation to allow generator sets to be imported in emergencies. Provisions allowing temporary, duty-free imports of equipment can greatly expedite delivery. Contracts established with freight companies during the planning phase may increase the availability of ships or air transport when a disaster occurs.

Finances are another stumbling block to be avoided. As part of planning, emergency management agencies should agree on payment terms with rental power suppliers. This may include issuing a letter of credit from a financial institution or budgeting the necessary funds.



An emergency plan is a living document. It should be revisited and updated regularly.

It is wise to test your plan by involving the local electric utility in simulation drills. During an actual emergency, coordination between utility staff and emergency personnel can improve the use of rental equipment.

Disasters are unpredictable and even the best plan will not eliminate the need for good judgment and resourcefulness.

However, a solid plan immediately moves disaster recovery several steps forward. It makes critical actions easier and provides a basis for sound decision making as the event unfolds.