Catastrophic power failure

Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
57
#1
So, just wondering...

Has anyone else's store ever had a catastrophic power failure? Catastrophic in that it lasts for 2 days and they have to get rid of everything in:

A: The ENTIRE Meat cooler
B: The ENTIRE Meat freezer
C. The ENTIRE Dairy cooler
D: The ENTIRE Deli cooler
E: The ENTIRE Bakery freezer
F: ALL of the meat section on the floor
G: ALL of the dairy section on the floor
H: ALL of the open produce (the stuff that needs to be refrigerated)
I: ALL of the open deli (cheeses, deli meats, soups, salads, etc)
J: ALL of the already-made bakery goods (cakes, etc)
K: ALL of the freezer section on the floor

Just wondering. Cause...it happened at my store. And it wasn't pretty.
We managed to salvage the BIG freezer, but that's about it.

Its going to be an interesting next few days...
 

Formina Sage💯

Probably still better than you at the stacker
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
1,655
#2
Every store should be equipped with a backup generator that's tested monthly! How old is your store? WOW that's absolutely insane.
 
B

Barcode

Guest
#3
We had a problem with one of our freezers and we had to QMOS the entire freezer lol. I can't remember the cost of it all, but it was some HUGE number ._.
 

Formina Sage💯

Probably still better than you at the stacker
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
1,655
#4
I just remember the day where the backroom dairy cooler was out of order for several hours, we just watched as the temp gauge climbed into the red zone. However, the tech was able to get the cooler going again and we did not have to mass qmos.
 
OP
OP
L
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
57
#5
Every store should be equipped with a backup generator that's tested monthly! How old is your store? WOW that's absolutely insane.
Funny thing about that...

We do have a generator. A BIG one.

Here's how this went down:

Day 1: HUGE lightning storm. We figure an AC unit got struck on the roof which caused a surge and tripped the all the breakers.
Generally when the power goes out, the generator kicks in and provides the store with 95% of its power needs.
But not this time. We had, MAYBE 25% power. Almost completely dark on the floor. No power to freezers, coolers, floor coolers, etc.
The ETL's figure the power in the area's knocked out and there's nothing they can do. So they wait for it to come back on. And wait. And wait. For 5 hours.

For the first 3 hours, they leave the open coolers on the floor uncovered (this is the weekend after all, have to make sales). Then they decide to close them.

They finally call the SFT in and he non-chalantly walks into the generator room, flips the breaker and everything comes back on. But not before we lose about 10% of the perishable stuff on the floor.

The lightning had shorted something out in the generator and we DID have local power, but the generator was blocking it and trying to generate its own power. They could've flipped the switch the whole time.

Day 2

About 4 PM, we lose 50% power. At first the ETL's think its the local utility cutting us back (like they do sometimes), but after and hour they get concerned. The fans in the freezers/coolers are running, but they aren't blowing cold air. The ony things running in the store were low-power users.

Turns out the generator got TOTALLY fried and resetting the switch the day before had only made it worse while temporarily making it better. And since the utility's power runs THROUGH the generator to get to the store, the generator's scrambled curcuits were running it weird.

Long story short, full power wasn't restored until 6 AM. All lost. Total QMOS in the $100K+ range.
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
427
#6
Worst we had was about 5 hours. At the 4 hour mark it did come back on for about 20 minutes. I'm in a two floor store, and the cart escalators didn't work during the back-up times, so we told most people to leave their carts on whichever floor they were on and hand basket the rest, then compile at the end.

During the brief power on time, a dad was with his little kid in a stroller wanting to go downstairs. He asks me if the elevator was working, and indeed it was, but I tell him "It might be working now, but I would NOT get on it." Obviously he can't leave the kid upstairs, so he's stuck in a pretty crappy place. I ended up telling him to take the kid out of the stroller and carried that stroller monstrosity down the stalled escalator.
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
17,909
#7
We lost power early one morning during a storm but our ETL got the generator on right away. Not before the black-out scared hell out of the cash office person. No windows whatsoever. @@
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
135
#8
How did you salvage your big freezer if it was out for 14 hours? After about 10 hours, everything is gone for us.

Isn't it insured, too?
 

MorurDreamcat

little Vibrator
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
183
#9
we just had the same thing happen too. The back up generator only works for so long and then it's mostly to keep the lights on for safety. Our power was out for quite a while (til 2 a.m. I believe).
The next day we emptied ALL freezer and cooler doors on the floor and the cooler/freezer in back.
I think our damage was somewhere around 68 thousand? It is insured and even the hours used for Qmos-ing and then later re-stocking fall on Corp. hours.
Had a lady in the guest comments leave a long paragraph how she saw us throw everything out and how appalled she was and just how so wrong it was of us to throw everything out. *here you go lady, have a package of bacon that has been out of temp for 4 hours. Good Luck and God Bless*
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
25,300
#10
First, your etl should call alert1 or building services after reviewing the flip charts procedures on failure. Now, with new p-fresh sensors, building services is calling the store first & ask about temp issues in freezers/coolers.
Qmos is done in the event of failure. I do that part 6 times with total removealbe of all bad products. No fun!
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2011
Messages
42
#11
GRAND OPENING of Pfresh in our store, and we lose power. Thats quite a way to say welcome guests, to our new market area, but pardon the lack of food.....we have backup generators, but they are only hooked up to the lights and registers, NOT the Coolers and Freezers.

I thought it was actually quite funny, yet so stupid for them to not have that sort of thing hooked up to the generators.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
100
#12
Funny you mention this. We had a huge storm roll through a while back that knocked power out to over half the city. Generators kicked on, but we had no ETA on getting power back. ETL calls to get a reefer truck in, which takes 5 hours to get to us. We plastic sheet the coolers, then later tub everything up and toss it in the dairy cooler hoping for the best, but after 5 hours, everything on the floor was a loss.

We lost everything in the bunkers and on the floor. Everything in the dairy and produce coolers. The walk-in freezer was okay. Power was out for almost 48 hours. Over $100,000 was lost. The QMOS and throw away was hellish. It took 3 huge trash dumpsters brought in by a semi to trash it all. The smell behind the store...not pleasant.

It is insured and they even cover the payroll it costs to deal with the aftermath. I spent an hour figuring how much payroll we spent on recovery just for the one night I was there for it.

Since the generators can only do so much, there wasn't a lot we could do. The generators can't handle the kind of load all that cooling would do for all the stuff on the floor and the coolers and freezers. They are really only designed to run for a few hours to keep the store open in the event of a temp. power loss. Even then we plastic sheet the coolers, put up signs and tape to keep guests from opening the doors.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
L
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
57
#13
Funny you mention this. We had a huge storm roll through a while back that knocked power out to over half the city. Generators kicked on, but we had no ETA on getting power back. ETL calls to get a reefer truck in, which takes 5 hours to get to us. We plastic sheet the coolers, then later tub everything up and toss it in the dairy cooler hoping for the best, but after 5 hours, everything on the floor was a loss.

We lost everything in the bunkers and on the floor. Everything in the dairy and produce coolers. The walk-in freezer was okay. Power was out for almost 48 hours. Over $100,000 was lost. The QMOS and throw away was hellish. It took 3 huge trash dumpsters brought in by a semi to trash it all. The smell behind the store...not pleasant.

It is insured and they even cover the payroll it costs to deal with the aftermath. I spent an hour figuring how much payroll we spent on recovery just for the one night I was there for it.

Since the generators can only do so much, there wasn't a lot we could do. The generators can't handle the kind of load all that cooling would do for all the stuff on the floor and the coolers and freezers. They are really only designed to run for a few hours to keep the store open in the event of a temp. power loss. Even then we plastic sheet the coolers, put up signs and tape to keep guests from opening the doors.
EXACT same thing. We had to put rows of carts in font and around the frozen section just to keep the guests out. We had to use caution tape around meat and dairy to keep them from trying to get stuff. AND SOME OF THEM STILL KEPT TRYING TO SNEAK IN AND BUY THINGS! Morons!

As to the person who asked HOW we salvaged the big freezer...by the grace of god. The temp only got up to about 8 degrees in there. It usually sits at about -10. My guess is that the amazing amount of ice build up helped keep the temp down.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2011
Messages
42
#14
EXACT same thing. We had to put rows of carts in font and around the frozen section just to keep the guests out. We had to use caution tape around meat and dairy to keep them from trying to get stuff. AND SOME OF THEM STILL KEPT TRYING TO SNEAK IN AND BUY THINGS! Morons!

As to the person who asked HOW we salvaged the big freezer...by the grace of god. The temp only got up to about 8 degrees in there. It usually sits at about -10. My guess is that the amazing amount of ice build up helped keep the temp down.
Ha, thats another thing. That -10 temp....there are definitely days where it feels colder than it shows. I call BS.
 
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Messages
91
#16
What volume was your store? When i worked at a ULV we had a total power loss for three days...total QMOS loss was around 50K. The funny thing is, is that FMOCH (spelling?) kept calling to tell us our freezer/cooler temps were dropping. No kidding, right?
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
17,909
#17
Yrs ago, one of the old-timers told me the front lanes had back-up batteries on every other lane (even #s) so that in the even of an outage, half the lanes were still operational. As the batteries eventually died, they pulled them so now everything is on the generator. Now that we're going thru remod, I wonder if they're going to install a bigger back-up generator to handle the coolers & freezers. They've finished the outer walls of our new walk-ins & they're huge! They've pretty much cleared the area where Pfresh will be.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
51
#18
A year ago we had a long power outage and threw away ALL cold stuff. A few weeks ago we had it happen again but we were able to save the frozen stuff quarantined in its coolers and a decent amount of dairy on a rented reefer truck.

In both cases we never QMOS'd, we would do a store transfer to a dummy store so they could easily just look at the transfer invoice or whatever to gauge the damages. The bored kids in produce got to chuck stuff into the dumpsters all day!

The generator didn't power our coolers, it just maintained minimum lighting, registers and partial wireless coverage (you had to pull very strategically!)
 

Formina Sage💯

Probably still better than you at the stacker
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
1,655
#22
Oh I just looked into this again. When our store had power outages for a couple hours on end, the generator supported all the coolers/freezers, but that's because we're a newer store with a gigantic load-shedding generator outside behind the store; it's like the size of half a trailer home and can support the entire store. Apparently only like 25 stores in the company have one of these, but hopefully all new stores being built get them.
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
1,010
#23
I think my store has a big diesel engine in the back somewhere, behind a door in the fire lane.

I want to bust in there and fire it up and just rev it for no reason.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
100
#24
I think my store has a big diesel engine in the back somewhere, behind a door in the fire lane.

I want to bust in there and fire it up and just rev it for no reason.
I went in the room on the fire aisle in the back once with my ETL. I asked her wth that was, really does look like a giant engine, lol. She just shrugged at me and said how would I know.

Curiosity kills the TM?
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
Messages
301
#25
I think my store has a big diesel engine in the back somewhere, behind a door in the fire lane.

I want to bust in there and fire it up and just rev it for no reason.
This is probably the engine for the generator. It could be the pressure system for the sprinklers but it's hard to say without seeing it.
 
Top