COMPANY PROFILE

CD & POWER

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CONTACT INFO

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Address

150 Nardi Lane
Martinez
CA, 94553
United States
Phone
925-229-2700
Fax
Primary
Brian Benson

About CD & Power

CD & Power is a certified Woman-Owned Business, with License #757162, A, C-10. We sell, rent, and maintain backup generators for government agencies, grocery stores, office buildings, hospitals, construction sites, special events, disaster relief, planned power outages, and more!

 

Our Mission is to be the Very Best Generator & Engine Service Company in all of Northern California, and Beyond!

At CD & Power our mission statement is a way of life. “We power your success through Innovation, Education and Inspiration”. The day-to-day operations and management of  CD & Power is headed by Lisa Carter who focuses her considerable effort on building a team of generator experts to offer generator sales, installation, service, repair, maintenance and parts for industrial users throughout Northern California.

 

How We Got Started

CD & Power was established in 1985 by Chuck Uischner, [who is best known as “The Big Tall Bald Guy”]. Chuck would fix all kinds of industrial engines and equipment during the day, and then do books at night. Back in those days, the generator and engine parts department consisted of a small desk and a shelf. Chuck expanded his generator and engine repair business by taking chances, and surrounding himself with motivated people.

In 2013 Chuck transitioned ownership to his daughter, Jill Collaro as President, and his son Donald Uischner as Vice President. Now in our 30th year, CD & Power continues to be a family-run operation with a close-knit network of employees. Under Jill’s able leadership the company earned certification from the State of California as a WBE or Woman-Owned Business Enterprise.

Give us the opportunity! You will enjoy a powerfully different service experience. Here are a couple reasons why:

  1. We will always have a person answer the phones during office hours. We believe it is impossible for a machine to understand your problem.
  2. We will remember that your problems are our business.
  3. We will be diligent in resolving your problem.
  4. We will take responsibility for our actions.
  5. We will continually train our personnel.
  6. We are always just a phone call away — Anytime, 24 hours a day.

Generator Sales, Rental, and Service

We are a full-service generator and engine repair industrial leader. We are the proud Factory Authorized Dealer and Manufacturer Warranty Station for Engine Repair. We back our work 100%. Services include:

  • Sales and Installation of stationary and portable generators
  • Generator Rental ranging from 10KW to 1MW. We provide all of the ancillary equipment to get your portable power up and running.
  • Generator Maintenance including preventative service, repair, parts, and an array of services to help you remain compliant with air quality and other regulations. 
  • Portable Hybrid Solar Power Rentals: Our Reliable, low maintenance, portable solar generators are the clean solution to many remote power needs.
Generator Rental
Generator Rental
We rent generators across ALL of Northern California
CD & Power Team
CD & Power Team
CD & Power gives back - operation Christmas child
CD & Power Overview
CD & Power Overview
Commercial generator sales, rental, maintenance and parts
How to Choose a Generator Rental Company
How to Choose a Generator Rental Company
When the power goes out, you need to have confidence that you can get additional backup power on site, and powered up, quickly.
Portable Solar Generators
Portable Solar Generators
Green, Clean, Dependable Power
Diesel Generator Safety & Inspection
Diesel Generator Safety & Inspection
Learn how to safely inspect your stationary backup generator.
Generator Remote Secondary Stop Switch Requirement
Generator Remote Secondary Stop Switch Requirement
The importance of installing the proper means of stopping and disconnecting your generator.
Generator Rupture Basin Sensor Testing
Generator Rupture Basin Sensor Testing
The importance of installing and testing sensors to prevent two types of fuel spills.
Rent Portable Solar Generators - Green, Clean, Dependable


Reliable, low-maintenance, portable solar generators are the clean solution to many remote power needs. We've got an array of configurations available to match your electrical demand. From our small, 2-panel compact unit up to our 8-panel solar trailer complete with a 75kWh battery AND a Honda generator, power to your remote project site will be one less problem for you to solve.


Common applications: remote construction projects, off-grid homes, water pumping stations


Rainy days? No problem! The solar panels harvest power when overcast. We deploy with fully-charged batteries to provide power for days even in TOTAL darkness


Check out our inventory here.


News Archive


CD & Power and CEO Jill Collaro Recognized by Bay Area News Group.
01 July, 2019

 



CD & Power is pleased to be doubly honored in this year’s Top Workplace list published by the Bay Area News Group. Not only is the company recognized among the top 10 small businesses for the 5th year in a row, but their remarkable CEO and trusted team leader, Jill Collaro, is honored with the Leadership award for small businesses for the 3rd time!

The complete list of honorees is available online here or where Bay Area News Group publications are sold. Look for Jill’s recognition on page S23 and the list of small business winners on page S14.


Load Bank Testing for your Generator
17 June, 2019

The purpose of most generator sets is to provide a trustworthy source of power for your facility or business during an emergency situation when the power is out or not available for some reason. In the event of a power failure, there should be no doubt that your backup power source will kick into action and get you back up and running.  But what happens when the power goes out and your genset does not operate the way it is supposed to? The results can often be costly and sometimes disastrous.

This is the reason why  generator load bank testing should be a crucial part of your generator maintenance plan — and this testing should ideally be done each and every year.  Load bank testing ensures that your generator will be:

  • dependable and operational when the power is needed
  • capable of generating the highest possible load required at any crucial point or time

What is Load Bank Testing?

A generator load bank test involves an inspection and evaluation of a generator set.  It makes sure that all primary components of the generator set are in proper working order. To conduct a load bank test,  artificial loads are put on the generator by bringing the engine to the recommended operating temperature and pressure levels. This is especially important for  emergency generator sets that do not run very often and may not be exposed to carrying heavy loads on a regular basis.  The general rule is if your generator is not exposed to more than 30% of its rated kilowatt load, you should have the generator load tested.



A load bank test ensures that your generator will run when needed so that you can count on it producing  power during any kind of emergency that may arise.  A proper load bank test will give you an evaluation of your generator at its full kilowatt output rating.  Many generators don’t regularly operate at their full kilowatt rating.  It’s very important that the generator produce the horsepower that’s required for it to run flawlessly when that power is needed, while maintaining the right temperature and pressure levels and allowing  it to run for long periods of time.

What is Done During a Load Bank Test?

When a load bank test is started, an artificial load is placed on the generator. The test is timed and the  kilowatt load is  gradually increased in  specified increments.  Every time the load is increased, critical engine functions are measured at the highest possible levels for a sustained period of time. To complete the test, a load bank is needed (a machine with kilowatt rated sizes and battery type cables).


Wet-Stacking

When a diesel powered generator is not used very often or is only run on light loads, it can experience unburned fuel and soot buildup in the exhaust system. This is called “wet-stacking.”  Wet-stacking usually  happens when the genset is not performing the way it’s supposed to.  This may lead to damage or become a fire hazard and can even lead to the generator not working at all.  During a load bank test, the generator is run at full operating power and temperature. This will cause any wet-stacking to burn off.   Load bank testing actually serves two main purposes:

  1. It tests the generator to determine if functions properly and efficiently when needed.
  2. It removes any built-up carbon within the generator.

Advantages of Load Bank Testing

There are many reasons why gensets should undergo a load bank test on an annual basis, including:

  • Confirming the gensets output capabilities as opposed to just starting it up on occasion.
  • Finding problems now, instead of when an emergency arises, can be a major cost savings and prevent future breakdowns.
  • Helps to avoid wet-stacking and cleans out any carbon deposits.
  • Confirms that the engine cooling system will work efficiently under load.
  • Makes sure that the genset will work properly when  needed.

Load Bank Reports Should Include

  • Kilowatt Load
  • AC Voltage
  • Hertz
  • Oil Pressure
  • Amperage Rating
  • Voltage Tested
  • Any Additional Concerns or comments

Rent Portable Hybrid Solar Power for Your Generator Needs
03 June, 2019

Reliable, low-maintenance, portable solar generators are the clean solution to many remote power needs. We've got an array of configurations available to rent to match your electrical demand. From our small, 2-panel compact unit up to our 8-panel solar trailer complete with a 75kWh battery AND a Honda generator, power to your remote project site will be one less problem for you to solve.


Common applications: remote construction projects, off-grid homes, water pumping stations.


Rainy days? No problem! The solar panels harvest power even when overcast AND we deploy with fully charged batteries that will provide power for days even in TOTAL darkness.  See all our models and their features here.


Why Power Outages Will Be More Common Across NorCal in 2019
21 May, 2019

Pacific Gas & Electric filed its state-mandated 2019 wildfire safety plan in February. The $1.5 billion to $2 billion plan proposes to clear vegetation, inspect power lines, install sensors and cameras, and otherwise invest in efforts to prevent a recurrence of the deadly wildfires that pushed the Northern California utility into bankruptcy.


But perhaps the most controversial part of PG&E’s plan is to dramatically expand the scope of planned grid outages, which are intended to preempt the risk of its grid sparking more deadly wildfires this summer, and the disruptions and dangers those blackouts could cause.


PG&E didn’t specify how many customers could go without power this summer under the expanded “public safety power shutoff” (PSPS) authority it’s seeking from the California Public Utilities Commission. But in its filing, the utility warned that while it is planning them only as a “last resort,” it will be “alerting 5.4 million PG&E electric customer premises," or its entire customer base, that they might be facing power outages due to public safety power shutoffs this summer.


To mitigate these effects, the utility has laid out a raft of proposals, from sectionalizing portions of its grid to reducing the scope of outages during PSPS events, to building “resilience zones” — community centers or critical facilities in high-risk areas that can be equipped with grid interconnection hubs to support fast deployment of backup generators. It’s also proposing some novel concepts, like working with non-utility partners to install or utilize on-site generation or distributed energy resources for continuous power during safety outages, and exploring the potential for true microgrid systems to play a role.


But beyond grid sectionalizing and the hopes of enlisting private partners for backup power, most of these next-generation efforts won’t be ready for the 2019 fire season. And PG&E isn’t setting a timeline for some of the emerging technologies it’s testing to reduce fire risk, such as faster detection of potential fire-starting faults, or sensors and analytics to provide real-time “situational awareness” on its distribution grid.


For customers who may be affected by fire-prevention blackouts this summer, PG&E’s plan proposes relatively few options, beyond working with local first responders and critical services providers in high-risk areas to ensure emergency power is available, and providing up-to-date service restoration information, bill payment relief, and other “customer services and programs” for the rest of those left in the dark.


California utility San Diego Gas & Electric was the first to get approval from the California Public Utilities Commission for public safety power shutoffs, in response to its deadly 2007 wildfire season. After the deadly Northern California wildfires of 2017, the CPUC extended that authority to PG&E and Southern California Edison. PG&E applied the program last year to cover its distribution system or transmission lines below 115 kilovolts and in areas considered to be at the highest fire risk, according to the CPUC’s newly developed fire map.


In its first use of its PSPS authority, PG&E shut off power for about 60,000 customers in October, a move that sparked widespread complaints and claims of damages from spoiled food, interrupted business, and the like. But in November, it considered but decided against de-energizing power lines. That includes the power line suspected of playing a role in starting the Camp Fire; the utility deemed the risks not great enough.

Camp Fire

 

Impact of Extended Power Outages

Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly. A power outage may:

  1. Disrupt communications, water, and transportation.
  2. Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services.
  3. Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
  4. Prevent use of medical devices.


Note that your site doesn’t even need to be in a high wildfire risk area. If the transmission line that services your property runs through a high risk area, PG&E’s plan may require them to shut off your power along with many other customers.

 

Prepare Your Business for a Power Outage

  • Make sure PG&E has your proper contact information so you get notified about a planned outage. Visit this link to confirm.
  • If you have a stationary generator, make sure it is sufficient. Even if it doesn’t have many hours on it, it could be too old to be worth repairing or maintaining.
  • Update or prepare a written plan for when an outage occurs.
  • Have your backup generator serviced (see more information below)
  • Arrange for rental generators NOW. In many areas, rental generators are already in use or reserved.

 

 

What CD & Power is Doing to Help Our Customers

Even though we have been in this business for many years, the past few fire seasons have taught us a lot. We’re working hard to share our insights with customers so they can manage the impact of outages as well as possible.

PG&E Outage Preparedness Training


We are educating our staff about how to make sure customer sites are prepared, evaluating our inventory of ancillary supplies like cables, and implementing a staffing plan that will allow us to respond quickly when rental backup power needs to be deployed quickly. In order to prioritize our customers with urgent needs, routine scheduled maintenance visits may need to be postponed


As we mention above, be sure to reserve any portable generators early and update your disaster preparedness plan. For our generator service customers - during outages, we may need to postpone routine maintenance appointments.

 

What to Know About Backup Generators to Supply Your Power Needs 

Power outages are commonplace during disasters, and they may last for several days. You can reduce losses and speed the recovery process by installing an emergency generator. Meanwhile, renting portable generators can provide temporary power. Both can help prevent the interruption of operations at businesses and critical infrastructure facilities like hospitals, water treatment facilities, telecommunications networks, and emergency response agencies.


Federal, State, and local regulations may require you to obtain a permit before using a generator. Make sure you follow these regulations when you operate and maintain your generator.

 

Why Perform Maintenance on my Standby Generator Before a Power Outage or Other Unforeseen Problem Arises

The average life expectancy of a well-maintained service vehicle is approximately 5,000 hours (assuming 300,000 miles at 60 mph), a typical standby generator set can last from 10,000 to 30,000 hours. On the other hand, a standby generator might operate as little as 26 hours a year (based on only 30 minutes of weekly exercise and no outages) or as much as several hundred hours a year, depending upon the number and duration of power outages.

Generator Maintenance

In either case, a standby generator set could conceivably last 20 to 30 years. One way to ensure a long, reliable operating life is to implement a preventive maintenance (PM) program.


Preventive maintenance and service are typically done on a schedule based upon engine hours and/or time periods. The maintenance cycle can—and should—be adapted to meet specific application needs. The more hours per year a unit operates, the more frequently it will require service. Environment also plays a role: The more severe the environment (dusty, extremely hot or cold, highly humid, etc.), the more frequent the need for service may be.


Most OEM-recommended maintenance schedules for generators—whether a unit is powered by diesel or natural gas fuels—are roughly the same. The typical maintenance cycle includes a general inspection followed by scheduled inspection and service of the following critical systems.


  • Fuel system (diesel fuel requires more maintenance)
  • Coolant system
  • Lubrication system
  • Air system (combustion and cooling air)
  • Starting system (batteries and charger)
  • Alternator (a frequently overlooked item)
  • Transfer switch (another often-overlooked item)


At a minimum, a good visual inspection should be done on a monthly basis, as well as after any extended generator run times. Maintain general cleanliness of the generator and its surroundings. In an enclosed unit, make sure there are no rodents trying to take up residence.


The above items are by no means a complete list. Other PM aspects worth considering include the conducting of weekly exercise periods under load to test the entire system for proper operation and make the generator work at operating temperature. A monthly load test of at least 30% of rated load is required in some applications, using the building load, a load bank or a combination of the two.


OEMs provide detailed standby generator maintenance guidelines that should be followed to provide the longest most reliable service life possible for their respective equipment. General guidelines for specific applications also can be found in several recognized standards. One such standard is the NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems (2018 Edition). It is an excellent resource on general-maintenance requirements and detailed information on some specific maintenance items. This standard also contains a suggested maintenance schedule which, if followed, will meet minimum maintenance requirements for Level 1 and Level 2 emergency standby power systems. Remember: Establishing and following a thorough maintenance and service plan will provide you with a reliable power supply for many years.

 

Environmental Regulations That May Also Affect Your Power Generator

Emergency power generators can be critical pieces of equipment for any facility, especially in the stormy seasons of spring or winter or in disasters such as hurricanes or floods. If you have one in your facility now, or are thinking about getting one, you need to be aware of the environmental regulations which are triggered by having one onsite.

Environmental Regulations That May Affect Your Generator


EPA defines emergency generators as “…stationary combustion devices, such as reciprocating internal combustion engine or turbines that serve solely as a secondary source of mechanical or electrical power whenever the primary energy supply is disrupted or discontinued during power outages or natural disasters that are beyond the control or operator of a facility.” There are no time limits to using emergency generators during an emergency, but there are limits to the number of hours a generator can be used in non-emergency situations such as maintenance, testing, and other occasions such as offsetting electrical demand or to reduce electrical costs.


The bigger the generator, and the older the generator, the more likely environmental regulations will be triggered. The type of fuel used to power the generator also affects compliance. Generators can run on diesel fuel, gasoline, propane or natural gas.


Key Environmental Regulations of Generator Use

  • Air Emissions
  • Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC)
  • Tank Certifications and Registrations
  • Employee Exposure Issues


Though technically a safety issue, any backup generator which is brought into a facility could cause additional employee exposure issues. Before the use of generators, noise monitoring would need to be conducted to determine the potential noise exposures to employees in the area. Exhausts emitted from indoor generators may cause additional issues with employee exposure to chemicals, causing the need for engineering controls or additional employee personal protective equipment use.


The regulations which apply to emergency power generators can vary greatly depending on style, type, model, your location, facility setup and other factors. For more information, review this post that details environmental regulations that affect generator use.


Conclusion

Even without catastrophic fires, 2019 is likely to be a challenging year for businesses and other organizations across Northern California because of the planned power outage policies PG&E has enacted. Prepare your business now in order to minimize the effects.


The Importance of Installing Sensors in your Generator to Prevent Fuel Spills
08 May, 2019



Welcome to tip number 15 of the Generator Genius series. Today we’ll be talking about the importance of installing and testing sensors to prevent two types of fuel spills.  

Diesel fuel is considered a hazardous liquid, so its storage is governed by state and federal rules. Tanks that can store 500 gallons of fuel or more must be equipped with two types of sensors and those sensors must be tested periodically to ensure that they are working properly. 


One type of sensor is called a liquid level limit control. It is designed to make it impossible to over-fill the tank. This device will 1) warn the operator when the tank reaches 90% full, and 2) completely shut off the flow of fuel in time to prevent the tank from exceeding 95%. 


If fuel is delivered via a rigid hose, there must also be a proper means for emptying the contents of the hose into the tank while still not exceeding 95% of the tank’s capacity.  


In addition to detecting spills that occur when filling the tank, there must also be sensors that trigger an audible alarm when there is a leak.  These sensors are installed inside the fuel tank’s rupture basin, which must be large enough to hold 150% of the tank’s volume. As soon liquid is detected inside the rupture basin, the sensor must trigger the alarm. 


“5003.2.7 Liquid-level limit control. Atmospheric tanks having a capacity greater than 500 gallons (1893 L) and that contain hazardous material liquids shall be equipped with a liquid-level limit control or other approved means to prevent overfilling of the tank.”


“5004.2.2.5 Monitoring. An approved monitoring method shall be provided to detect hazardous materials in the secondary containment system.” 


In most cases, these spill prevention systems must be tested, using an approved procedure, annually. Those test results must be documented and the records retained for at least 3 years. 


We have certified tank inspection technicians on staff as well as a compliance department ready to help you understand the regulatory requirements like record keeping. If you have facilities located in Northern California, contact us to schedule a compliance consultation. 


For more tips about how to safely operate and maintain your backup power system, visit us at gotpower.com. Thank you for joining me today and, until we meet again, remember at CD & Power, we’re powering your success.


Air Quality Reports Made Easy!
22 April, 2019


Managing generators located across multiple facilities is a costly responsibility. Sending staff to each site to collect data or simply verify that generators are in good working condition is time-consuming and expensive.


As Northern California's largest independent generator service company, we are keenly aware of the challenge this presents our customers. RemoteGP™ was designed to put an end to the hassle.


  • No more wasted labor hours, potential errors, missed repair opportunities or inaccurate reporting
  • Avoid unnecessary treks to check on remote generators. Now you can monitor their real-time status online via a computer, tablet or smartphone
  • Easily print out your AQMD reports for the last 12 months


By accessing your Remote Generator Portal (RemoteGP), reviewing generator run data is as easy as checking your email. Furthermore, you or your staff can configure the system to receive immediate notification of critical events like loss of power and equipment failure.


RemoteGP is a web-based, wireless solution for managing generators at multiple locations. It continually monitors the availability of main power at the location, and offers seven user-configurable digital inputs for reporting critical events. Alert Notifications are issued in realtime and can be delivered as text messages and/or email messages. RemoteGP even includes a digital output to provide Remote Start / Stop capabilities.


See more about Remote GP here.


Download the Remote Generator Monitoring brochure


Generator Remote Stop Switch Requirement
08 April, 2019

To be compliant it is essential that you have a secondary remote stop switch installed outside of where the generator is located.




In tip #14 of the Generator Genius series we’ll be talking about the importance of installing the proper means of stopping and disconnecting your generator.


Most generators come with a bright red stop switch on the control panel so that if someone needs to shut it down in an emergency, it’s simple to do. Activating this single stop switch does two things: 1) disconnect the electrical circuit, and 2) stop the “prime mover” – which is the engine that is generating the power.


However, this single stop switch may not be enough to guarantee that you’d be able to shut down your generator in a proper and safe way. In the event of a fire, an obstruction, or other reason that the generator’s control panel could not be accessed, it is essential that you have a secondary stop switch located outside of where the generator is located.


In fact, safety codes established by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, require that any stationary generator over 15 kW capacity has a secondary, remote stop switch installed. 


Our technicians are trained in what it takes to comply with these regulations and have installed secondary remote stop switches for dozens of customers across Northern California. If you are not sure about your compliance with this fire code, or other safety and environmental regulations related to generator use, contact us to schedule a consultation.


For more tips about how to safely operate and maintain your backup power system, visit us at gotpower.com. Thank you for joining me today and, until we meet again, remember at CD & Power, we’re powering your success.



What You Need to Know about Generator Replacement
26 March, 2019

Determining the right time to replace a generator can be a daunting task. A standby generator is one of those pieces of a business that feels useless. Kind of like a Contingency Plan. Until of course the power is out and it is the lifeline to keeping your business functioning or providing critical life safety functions. At CD & Power we are committed to helping you make the most informed decision for your particular requirements.

 

The first step is evaluating your current system. Trying to come to a consensus on the life of a generator/engine can be a real crap shoot. You can scour the internet and get a lot of different opinions. Here are a couple:

 

  • Engine life for liquid-cooled 1800rpm engines can approach 20,000 hours if properly serviced depending on the application and environment
  • Even 3600rpm diesel engines normally have a 10,000 to 12,000 hour life expectancy with proper maintenance and service.
  • Diesel engines have a distinct advantage in longevity over their gasoline counterparts. Mechanical parts wear out over time due to the friction caused by parts rubbing together. Diesel engines, however, are engineered and built to be more robust due to the higher compression ratio in the combustion chamber and the high torque output they produce. Diesel engines also operate at lower speeds (rpm) than gasoline engines, which means the bearings, piston rings, cylinder walls, valve train, etc., don’t rub together as often. Engine speeds are often half that of a gasoline engine.

 

From facilities.net – The following rules of thumb will prove useful in evaluating the existing infrastructure:

 

  • UPS batteries should be replaced after six to seven years of servi
  • Generator engine life expectancy is 20 to 25 years
  • Transfer switches life expectancy is 20 to 25 years

 

Here are some factors we suggest you use when evaluating/budgeting for equipment replacement.

 

What is the equipment usage? At CD & Power, there are over 100 generators in our rental fleet. Engines can go as high as 30,000 hours before experiencing significant difficulties. For most of us, we gauge usage in miles and not hours. Converting hours to miles is helpful in trying to determine replacement intervals for more heavily used equipment and to equate to a marker we more easily understand. This is a very subjective measurement. Estimates for the conversion can be as low as one hour equals 33 miles and as high as one hour equals 60 miles. So as an example, if you have 1250 hours on your generator that would equate to somewhere between 41,250 and 75,000 miles.

 

What is the impact of air quality regulations today and in the future? Many 30kw generators that were manufactured before 2000 have engines that are over 50hp. Most generators that are 30kw that are manufactured today have engines that are under 50hp and don’t fall under air quality requirements.

 

How does this generator impact your overall CARB (California Air Resources Board) and/or EPA footprint? What are the emissions now vs. the emissions of the new engine – This is especially relevant for portable generators and fleet averaging. Changing out one high emitting generator can be just enough to get your fleet compliant.

 

What is the length of time the manufacturer will be supporting parts? The time range for parts support varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. It can be as little as 5 years for smaller manufacturers to 30 years for larger manufacturers. Getting parts that have been sitting on a shelf for 5-10 years can be a real challenge for reliability. The older the generator/engine the greater the chance that the part has been resold or repackaged.

 

What is the condition of the: engine, generator and controls?

 

Have there been any major maintenance issues that would impact engine/generator life?

 

Is the generator oversized or undersized? Running a generator with a light load can lead to carbon build up in the engine and eventually cause damage to the engine. In addition, it can cause you to have emissions that are out of compliance and expose you to fines from air quality. Running a generator with too heavy of a load can have a number of implications. You can cause damage to equipment that the generator is powering due to the voltage/frequency drop. There can also be damage to windings from overloading wires. Most generators have a breaker in place to help lessen the chances of major component failures due to overloading.

 

Was the generator properly installed in the first place?

 

Will a new generator require a new cement pad, new conduits, fuel lines, etc.? Costs for removal and installation should be factored into the budget process.

 

At CD & Power we offer turnkey generator maintenance and installation services. We are the largest independent generator service provider in Northern California. Call us today (925) 229-2700 and let us show you how we are “Powering your Success” or visit us on the web at GotPower.com.


Can You Use Biodiesel In Your Generator
11 March, 2019

Because we are in the U.S. state that many see as the leader in environmental protection and sustainability, it’s no wonder that we have customers curious about using biodiesel in their portable backup generators and stationary backup generators.


What to Consider When Using Biodiesel in Your Generator

Warranty and Support. As with just about any piece of equipment, it’s important to recognize that the manufacturer will recommend specific operating conditions and maintenance procedures. Using the equipment in a way that is outside of those recommendations may void your warranty or at least make it more complicated for the manufacturer (or factory-trained service partners like CD & Power) to provide you with support. We recommend reviewing warranty documentation and checking with the manufacturer if possible.


Maintenance Costs. As mentioned above, your diesel generator was designed and manufactured to operate reliably under certain conditions. The brands that we sell and service are definitely rugged pieces of equipment that (when well maintained) will do their jobs when called upon. BUT, they are also very sophisticated. Not only does it take regular service to ensure that your generator is poised to perform, it takes the right materials for it to operate at its peak – the right filters, fuel, coolant lubricants, etc.


When servicing generators that have been running on biodiesel, we’ve noticed (and had to resolve) significant problems that don’t occur in systems running on traditional fuel.


  • Risks to fuel system. Unlike traditional diesel fuel, biodiesel acts as a corrosive agent – etching into raw metal throughout the fuel system, including the fuel tank. The resulting rust can cause problems necessitating the replacement of the fuel system. As for the tank, it often needs to be replaced, or at least removed, cleaned and recoated.


  • Increased regular maintenance costs. In order to minimize the corrosive impact of biodiesel, we recommend changing the fuel filter after the first 20 hours of use and every 100 hours thereafter. Additionally, seals and hoses will need to be replaced more frequently on a generator operating on biodiesel. The additional costs of materials and labor to manage this accelerated maintenance schedule should be considered.


Environmental Impact. While the sustainability benefits of biodiesel are significant, its use in fueling a generator does come at an unintended cost. By shortening the usable life of the fuel system, fuel tank, ancillary equipment like seals and hoses, and maintenance items like fuel filters, using biodiesel contributes to more landfill waste than traditional diesel fuel.


As with many things, the right answer for your organization may depend on a variety of factors. If you are considering using biodiesel in your generator, be aware of the additional risks, maintenance costs, and environmental impact.


We are happy to be a resource, so feel free to contact us to discuss your particular situation.


Why Air Quality Compliance is a Priority
25 February, 2019

Did you know that we are our own customer? Because we have an extensive fleet of portable generators available to rent, our technicians can get pretty busy installing, servicing, and fueling our own equipment. In 2017 things were extra hectic because we brought on 12 (yes TWELVE) new portable generators ranging from 50KW to 1MW. We spent $1,000,000 on these generators– one of the biggest investments our company made in 2017.

 

Why Buy New Portable Generators?

So why did we do it? While expanding our fleet allows us to support more customers right now (let us know what you may need!), we’re also positioning our fleet for air quality compliance with state and local regulations that phase in over the coming few years. We are anticipating retiring older generators as these new air quality requirements come into effect.

 

What You Need to Know About California Air Quality Compliance

California authorities certainly have been prolific in developing and adopting ever more stringent emissions limits over the years. But objective measures show that we’re all at least getting the promised benefits. Despite a growing population plus more vehicles and other equipment, emissions of tracked pollutants have dropped consistently each year for several decades.

 

Related to portable diesel engines (and therefore portable diesel generators), the primary statewide regulation we all need to follow is the Airborne Toxic Control Measure For Diesel Particulate Matter From Portable Engines. This information details proposed language that has been adopted. The final document is expected to follow. What it says:

  • Portable engines rated for 50bhp or higher are subject.
  • An organization’s fleet must meet an established, lower emission standard by January 1, 2020 (only 2 years away!)
  • For details about the air quality compliance requirements, check out page 12 of the ATCM.

 

What Are the Penalties for Failing Air Quality Compliance?

It’s important to keep in mind that California is divided into 35 regional air quality management districts, so we recommend reviewing the rules and penalties as described by your respective district. Typically, if your organization is found to be in violation, you would receive a notice of violation that details the reason. It’s important to take immediate action to avoid significant penalties.

 

Depending upon the circumstance, the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) may consider each day your equipment is out of compliance to be a separate violation – meaning that significant penalties could rack up quickly. California Health & Safety Code, Section 42402 allows for penalties to be as high as $1,000,000 per day per violation!

 

The Bottom Line on California Air Quality Regulation

If you have portable generators or other regulated engines, be sure to keep your fleet up to date. New, more stringent, emissions standards must be met by January 1, 2020 – less than 2 years away. We’re investing now so we’re not under pressure to make the changes (and swallow the costs) all at once. Letting your organization get out of compliance could be very costly. If you have any questions about emissions regulations in your area and whether or not your equipment is compliant, contact us to schedule a complimentary compliance consultation.


PG&E message for 2019? Get ready for more blackouts
08 February, 2019

This week PG&E provided additional details about its fire safety plan for 2019. An important factor -- expect more and broader blackouts this summer and fall. The announcement lays out the expansion of the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program. 


More details available on the PG&E website.


What does this mean for you? Make sure your disaster preparedness plan includes what you will do when there is simply an unplanned outage. Do you have a stationary backup power source, such as a diesel generator? If not, contact us for a consultation about your needs. Your plan should also include how you will acquire extra backup power. We rent portable generators, but when the power is out is not the time to figure out what you need. When the time comes that you need a generator delivered in a hurry, here is what we need to know:

  • What is your application?
  • What amperage is needed?
  • What voltage is needed?
  • Single phase or three phase?
  • How much cable do you need?
  • How many hours per day will the generator be running?
  • Does the generator need to be delivered?
  • Do you need CD & Power to do the installation?
  • Do you need to have fueling arranged

Fill in the answers and have the information posted on or near your generator along with our 24/7 hotline 866-468-7697.

At CD & Power we like to think we have written the book on how to prepare for disaster, THE DISASTER RECOVERY AND CONTINGENCY POWER PLAN.

If you would like help creating your backup power plan, give us a call at 866-468-7697.


Backup Power After North Bay Storm
08 February, 2019

Jump to the 3:15 mark to see OUR rental generator (and camera-friendly technicians) hard at work to supply power for this Safeway store!



The Pitfalls of Proprietary Backup Generator System Software
14 January, 2019

imageSoftware plays an ever increasing role in our daily existence. We have travelled far beyond that fifth dimension, foreseen in The Twilight Zone back in the sixties. Driving into an automotive service station with an engine problem, what is the first thing a technician will do? They will plug the engine into a computer, because the engine is really run by software.

The same is true for backup generators. Our technicians are well versed in how system software manages and monitors your generator. Sometimes, however, our hands are tied by proprietary software that we are not allowed to operate. It can be more than just frustrating – it can result in otherwise avoidable down time. Let’s use an analogy to get the point across.

 

How Proprietary Software Impacts Generator Service

If your generator uses proprietary software it still can be serviced by any service company. It is when changes to the software need to be made that proprietary issues take over. Generator manufacturers that use proprietary software certify specific technicians (and provide them hardware “dongles”) to alter certain software settings that may need to be adjusted. So now not only are you restricted to a particular company, you are also restricted to a particular technician within the company. “Down Time” becomes a whole new metric.

 

The Risk of Having Your Hands Tied

Image if you will a frustrating scenario. You purchase the car of your dreams. You would normally have it serviced at the locally owned repair facility that you know provides the highest quality workmanship without the expensive labor rates of the dealership. Unfortunately, the non-warranty repairs can’t be completed because the manufacturer won’t allow your repair facility (or any other one not directly affiliated with the manufacturer) access to software to make the repairs.

 

Generator Down Time and Proprietary Software

Let us share how this situation can actually play out. One of our service reps recently had to cope with proprietary software in solving a customer issue. He had no trouble diagnosing the problem: a malfunctioning electronic control unit (ECU). Given that the ECU’s software was proprietary to the generator manufacturer, we were told (after several calls) that an authorized technician, equipped with a hardware interface we do not have, would need to confirm our assessment.

After another series of calls and call backs, we were finally able to arrange a visit by the technician. He indeed confirmed what our tech had determined two weeks earlier. The needed part came a week later but we are still trying to schedule a return service call from that vendor-approved technician. Excessive down time, inoperable or poorly operating generator power, and additional cost turned what should have been an easy layup into a seven game series.

This is not to bash the technician or the service company – everyone involved, especially the generator owner, are forced to operate within a structure that doesn’t scale well.

 

Purchasing New Generator Equipment

Keep this issue in mind the next time you are in the market for a new generator. You will find that most of the smaller manufacturers utilize controls with an open architecture. This means that the software is not “locked” and it doesn’t require any special connectors that are controlled by the engine or generator manufacturers. This allows you the freedom to choose the service provider that best fits your needs. And, when problems surface you will exercise better control over the “down” in down time.

 

If you have questions about your generator’s software, or are considering buying a new generator and want help to select one that will fit your needs, give us a call at 866-468-7697. Let us be part of your winning team.


What Will My Generator Power?
18 December, 2018

When an outage strikes and your generator kicks in, what will it power?

imageWe asked one of our project managers to help us answer this question. “In short, a generator can be configured to power whatever you want it to power,” he explained. For one, powering everything may be cost prohibitive, and likely unnecessary. Thinking now about the generator support you will need in the event of a power loss, will optimize your disaster-preparedness plan.


The size of your facility and the nature of your business generally dictate your generator requirements.

If you are running a real estate office, a basic, system generator may be all you need to back up your computers and lighting. If you are running a hospital you need heavy duty, diesel generator power to keep service on line for everything from operating rooms to the cafeteria.


When the lights go out, compliance with safety regulations stays in effect.

In calculating what your generator will have to power, pay attention to the safety-related requirements that apply to your facility, like fire alarms and exit lighting (which may be accomplished with battery backup instead of a generator). Are there additional requirements such as: egress lighting, gas alarm, public address systems, floor power for critical areas, critical ventilation, and essential mechanical and medical equipment? What you need is described in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code. Note that testing requirements may also be more stringent for municipal operations involved in life safety, like fire departments, police facilities or schools.


Consider what you need to keep the business running during a power failure.

Beyond regulations, a power outage can do harmful and expensive damage to essential systems in your business or operation. For example, cooling or heating may be essential to keep product from spoiling. For many organizations, important computer systems may need to be backed up as well.

One also has to consider that a generator cannot be configured to back up a smattering of equipment spread throughout a facility (powered through different electrical panels). So if a facility is determined to have essential equipment in varied locations, the cost of re-routing those select circuits into a common panel (that can in turn be backed up by a generator) may be large; if so, it may actually be cost-effective to back up your entire facility vs. tackle all the additional rewiring.

Ask yourself a critical question. How old is your generator? Are you confident it can manage the burden growth has added since your current generator was installed?


Now is the time to think about your disaster-preparedness plan.

When the iceberg is just off your starboard bow is not the time to think about an abandon-ship plan. What you expect from your generator should be a fundamental component of a disaster-preparedness plan. http://www.gotpower.com/reasons-emergency-preparedness/


We can help you figure it out.

Anything or everything can be backed up, but the right answer is likely different for each organization. At CD & Power we have a wealth of knowledge and experience to power your planning. Call us today at (866) 468-7697 to let us assist you with your generator planning and requirements.


Arc Flash Danger and How to Protect Your Workers
03 December, 2018

imageArc flash, also known as flashover or arc fault, is a risk for any workplace that has energized equipment. This uncontrolled electrical discharge can cause serious injury or even death for any workers in the vicinity. Read on to learn more about arc flash danger around generators and how to protect your workers.

 

What is an Arc Flash?

All electrical equipment is designed so electricity will follow a particular path. But sometimes, that electricity follows an unexpected path. It may jump to another conductor, or it may move to ground. An incident like this is called an arc flash.

An arc flash’s massive electrical discharge can create a dramatic and rapid increase in temperature, as much as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That can create fires and serious burns in workers, with non- fire-resistant clothing melting onto skin.

When the discharge is serious enough to vaporize the conductors, arc flash can create a supersonic shockwave called an arc blast. This explosion can be as loud as a gunshot (140 dB), with pressure upward of 2,000 pounds per square foot. This blast can send objects flying, including molten metal created by the initial arc flash. As you might imagine, arc flash can cause serious injury or death, and a worker in an arc flash accident may never fully regain her quality of life.

 

Protecting Your Workers

A number of situations can cause an arc flash or can increase the risk of one at the automatic transfer switch. Arc flash causes include:

  • dropping tools,
  • accidentally touching an energized device,
  • condensation,
  • dust in the air,
  • corrosion or material failure, or
  • faulty installation.

Experts have identified several ways to protect workers from arc flash danger. These are vital for anyone working with electricity to understand.

De-energize the circuit. This is the only 100-percent reliable way to prevent arc flash, and it should be standard practice to only work on de-energized circuits whenever possible. If the circuit must be “hot,” workers should follow all other listed safety procedures. One way of making electrified circuits safer is by installing arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) or ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). These are automatic circuit breakers that de-energize electrified circuits when they detect unusual energy flow.

Follow all safe work practices. Anyone working on an energized circuit should receive proper training. Written safety programs and on-the-job briefings are ideal, and many organizations also request an Energized Electrical Work Permit (EEWP) from all employees working on the electrified circuit. This training should include instructions on reading arc flash warning labels, differentiating between live and de-energized equipment, determining nominal voltage and determining clearance distances.

Use insulated safety equipment, including gloves, mats and blankets.

Barricade the approach boundaries, and restrict access to certified personnel. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated certain approach boundaries surrounding an exposed, energized part. The innermost boundary is the prohibited approach boundary, and entering this zone is considered equivalent to touching the live part. The restricted and limited approach boundaries describe areas in which there’s a steadily decreasing risk of arc flash. The flash protection boundary is the outermost boundary; anyone from this point onward is at risk of a curable second-degree burn.

Be aware of circuits’ energy levels. For instance, if a generator feeds an automatic transfer switch (ATS), the ATS and all other equipment downstream often has higher energy levels than it would if fed by normal mains electricity. This can increase the risk of arc flash, and necessitates greater safety precautions.

Arc flash is a serious risk to workers’ safety, but with a little care you can protect your employees. And if you have any questions about your generator’s arc flash risk, or if you need it serviced, don’t forget to reach out to CD & Power for help: the time you take could save your employees’ lives.


Generator Rupture Basin Readiness
16 November, 2018

What the Art of WarTells Us About Readiness

Sun Tzu was a sixth century B.C., Chinese army general whose influential writing on military strategy figures into the curriculum even today, at West Point. Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s attack on Pearl Harbor, was a devoted follower. About readiness Sun Tzu wrote

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our readiness to receive him…”

His lesson about readiness may offer direction to us about generator management and specifically, rupture basin readiness.

 

A Good First Step: the Annual Leak Detection Verification

The California Fire Code (CFC 5003.2.9-5004.2.2.5) is good place to start. The annual inspection mandated by the state, confirms that existing alarms for secondary containment systems are functioning.  Our CD & Power field technicians can perform the rupture basin sensor verification which covers tanks with up to 4 sensors and alarms located either on the generator control panel or in the same room as the generator.  Additional sensors can be verified at an additional charge.  We remove the leak detection float sensors and trigger them manually to certify that both audible and visual alarms are performing.

But don’t stop there.

 

Readiness Demands Constant Vigilance

There are a lot of things you cannot control like natural disasters, brownouts and human error. You can have training programs and systems to erase human error but there is always going to be somebody who forgets to turn the power on. But you can control readiness.

Institute a regular maintenance routine to ensure you’re truly ready for anything. We can provide you with clear-eyed plan for keeping your backup power system completely ready.

 

Rupture Basin Readiness Protects Your Generator

A rupture basin not only serves to contain a potentially dangerous spill, it has sensors designed to alert you when it senses liquid such as diesel in the basin.

Failing sensors sabotage the warning system leaving you in the dark when a spill happens. While the rupture basin will contain all the fuel in your tank and then some (unless there is a problem with it), fuel could be draining from the generator, thus reducing its emergency backup power. You may not be able to operate for long if you are unaware that traces of fuel have leaked out.

If the leak goes undetected and fuel is added to the tank, fuel could overflow the basin exposing your operation to environmental violations and the long shadow of huge fines that follow.

 

Commitment to Readiness

At CD & Power we are on a mission to make sure our clients are ready, 24/7 every day of the year. That means being ready for an outage, ready for the inspectors, ready to keep their operations rolling no matter what. To learn more about our Rupture Basin Sensor Testing service or to schedule a consultation, contact us.


Why Does Our Generator Start or Stop for No Reason?
01 November, 2018

Generator Start & StopAt CD & Power we get calls all the time asking, “Why did my generator just start up for no reason” or “Why didn’t it start when we had an outage?” Even in one case, “My generator is haunted. Can you help me out?”

The questions are not without merit. Your generator is a complex piece of equipment that for most of the time, particularly if it is not exercised on a regular schedule, sits idle.

It’s not unlike that multi-million dollar “closer” on a baseball team. He sits around most of the time. Days go by where he relaxes out in the bullpen and, the only thing he’s doing with that million dollar arm is lifting a Gatorade. But late in a tight ballgame he needs to come in and throw heat for just one inning.

In a power failure you need that “heat” for much more than an inning. You need the confidence that a reliable generator is going to provide immediate and sustained, backup power. If your generator does not seem to be operating normally, it is vitally important to know why. To us, any question you might have about it is a good question.

Here is just a brief sampling of the questions we hear about generators starting and stopping.

“Why does our generator start up for no reason?”

First of all, there’s always a reason. Let’s review a few of them.

  • Was there a power outage, however brief, that triggered the start?
  • Sometimes, a brownout or power failure, other than a complete outage, could cause your automatic transfer switch to cut over to generator power.
  • The generator is exercising per its schedule. Make sure your generator maintenance company has established an exercising schedule. How often you are permitted to run the generator for this purpose is regulated by the air quality management authority. The CD & Power Compliance Department can answer questions you have regarding regulations. Just call us at 866-468-7697.

“Why didn’t the generator start up when I needed it?”

  • The most common reason is a dead battery.
  • The battery charger may not be working, a common symptom when someone unknowingly turns it off at the breaker or puts it on the same circuit as the block heater, which trips the breaker.
  • The control panel draws a little current from the battery constantly, hence the need for the battery charger to be continually on.
  • A low coolant level would prevent the start. Because there is a safety issue here, the sensor setting is intentionally conservative. This means it’s quick to assess that coolant is low.
  • Low fuel pressure could be a factor.
  • In attempting to start the engine did it “over-crank?” The engine will only try to start so many times until it stops trying.

“Why did the generator stop running?”

  • If power has been restored the generator will stop running.
  • There may be a fault in the engine due to rodents. They like to take up residence in your generator and, in lieu of food, they’ll chew on wires and hoses.
  • The block heater may not be working.
  • Low oil pressure.
  • Emissions issue, for example diesel exhaust fluid level is low, or noxious emissions have otherwise been detected.

If generator dependability is your goal, our “Generator Genius Video Series” lays out a road map to get you there.

On our website you will find what we call our “Generator Genius Series.”

In compact 2 to 3 minute videos we have compiled the collective knowledge we have gained over thirty years of fixing generators. We have produced over a dozen videos covering three major areas of concern:

  • Generator Planning and Safety.
  • Regulatory Compliance.
  • Generator Maintenance.

If you already haven’t done so, designating one person on your staff to manage generator issues would be a sound measure. The Generator Genius videos would provide a comprehensive tutorial for that manager.

Challenge Us.

If you think you have questions we haven’t heard, challenge us. We might learn something ourselves. About that “haunted” generator? We don’t have an exorcist on our staff but we have a field force experienced in tracking and vanquishing the demons that might lurk in your generator.


PG&E Wildfire Risk Measures and What to Do
26 October, 2018

A few of our customers have asked about recent PG&E announcements and how to best be prepared. Here is what we know and recommend:

 

PG&E’s Announcement

1) PG&E announced its plan to proactively manage wildfire risks. You can read the full report here. Some key things to note: they will be more aggressive in managing vegetation around power lines and are warning customers now that they will conduct “Public Safety Power Shutoff[s]” when concern about wildfires is high.

2) In order to receive advance warning about potential shutoff, customers are reminded to update contact information in your PG&E Account. We encourage you to login to your account and confirm the information is accurate and as complete as possible — we recommend including multiple points of contact. The PG&E site is currently reminding visitors to do this.

3) PG&E has also published a page to help you determine if your power is likely to experience a shutoff during fire season. We encourage you to visit that page now to check. Even if your business is not directly in an area with high risk, the power line that services your facility could run through a high risk area, subjecting you to a possible shutoff. Go check this now.

 

What You Can Do

Regardless of where you are located, check to make sure your emergency power plan is up to date. While the risk is highest for our customers in areas at risk of wildfires (or serviced by power lines that run through high-risk areas), everyone is at risk of planned or unplanned outages or brownouts. Here is a refresher about how to create a complete emergency power plan. It would also be helpful to review our backup power “lessons learned” post after last year’s wildfires.

If you are concerned about potential shutoffs, determine your emergency power outage needs and whether or not extra power will be needed. Given these announcements, we expect many locations that rent portable generators will soon have no inventory. At the very least, we recommend that you document a thorough plan for renting portable power. Contact us to discuss your situation so we can help you determine everything from power needed to cable lengths so you could be up and running fast.

We should all be glad that PG&E is taking steps to reduce the risk of the electrical grid contributing to or starting a wildfire. We want to help you minimize the impact of outages on your operation. Take the steps above and contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Title Name Email Phone
Sales Manager Brian Benson brian@gotpower.com (925) 229-2700 Ext (126)
Rentals Jerry Marion jerry@gotpower.com (925) 229-2700 Ext (111)
Generator & Engine Service Ron Schrader ron@gotpower.com (925) 229-2700 Ext (108)
Generator & Engine Parts Tom Dessenberger tom@gotpower.com (925) 229-2700 Ext (104)
Generator Sales & Installation
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Proper Generator Maintenance service intervals are essential to the life-cycle of your generator! We fix generators and make certain your key generator components operate efficiently & effectively. Our Generator Maintenance services include: Automatic Transfer Switch (...
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Powering the Success of Northern California means we also help you remain compliant with the numerous agencies and codes that regulate your generator use. We’ve simplified the complex maze of requirements so you are ready for a surprise inspection and mandated reports are just one click away.