During a sport event blackout is something extremely harmful and potentially dangerous.

Last May we were involved in supplying a 1600 kVA generator for a Qatar Stadium. 

For the occasion I was able to interface directly with FIFA to get information about the specificities required for the use of a generator during FIFA events.

FIFA introduces the subject in a very clear way:

"The delay or cancellation of an event due to the lack of electrical power is unacceptable."


A careful evaluation of the reliability of the main source is useful to the designer to determine capacity and size of all the  backup equipment.

We therefore wanted to analyze FIFA requirements and outline possible solutions, here is the result:

It is  FIFA   itself who  suggested this table.


Practical solutions for a Backup System in a stadium

The first solution represents the main power line disposed in two sources, a preferred and an alternate one (diagram a). 

Diagram A

Diagram A

In the second solution both utility services are in use and can optionally be configured as main and reserve with the help of manual or automatic switches. (Diagram b).

Diagram B

Diagram B

In the event of a Network failure, back-up power should start immediately, but there will be a time leg due to the seconds needed to start up the fuel and the load switching and takinf off, therefore, the back-up must consider and include some autonomy while the generator starts up since field lighting, which is typically a high-intensity discharge (HID), once it turns off, it requires several minutes to restart and the broadcasting will be interrupted.

This timing range is covered in a variety of ways, including special generators (rotating UPSs) and Uninterruptable Power supply system (UPS).

FIFA establishes a clear requirement of autonomy regarding the amount of back-up power that should have the capacity to operate for a minimum of three hours during an outage.

A stadium is considered a "high availability" system, or a system that is continuously operating for a long period of time.

The measure of the reliability of a system like that of a stadium can be expressed by referring to an ideal percentage of 100% of the use.

The maximum use percentage of the system called "five nines" or 99,99% means a downtime of only five minutes per year.

During a season, a stadium will definitely experience far more than five minutes of stop for repair and maintenance. However, idle times during an event must be zero for some equipment to avoid any interruption. This would require a power of absolute continuity.

Other equipment could tolerate the startup time of the generator (about ten seconds) and some parts of the stadium could tolerate even more.

Hence, the classification of load types should be considered to determine the amount of capacity and size of the redundant units of back-up generators and the UPS system.

Below we find what might be a breakdown of utilities according to a priority classification:

Security (generator available in 10 seconds)

- fire-fighting pump

- fire alarm and detection system

- smoke ventilation systems

- lifts dedicated to fire prevention

- eventual illumination of medical department

Event and Security (Generator UPS available in less than 60 seconds)

- indoor and outdoor lighting

- special departments (data / telecommunications)

- PBX telephony

- security and access monitoring

- giant video screens

Essential event (generator in less than 90 seconds)

- tables

- control room and control panel

- turnstile monitoring system

- police station

Critical event (UPS and generator, zero idle time)

- event lighting

- game control center

- police control illumination

Each section of the load would involve different transfer, wiring, and distribution systems, and the UPS may be static or rotating but will still require additional back-ups from the generator or a battery pack with at least four hours of autonomy.

 The most famous blackout in the world of sporting events

Surfing the web reveals news of singular and sudden blackouts  you can not imagine they can happen, each caused by different and more or less unpredictable incidents.


NEW ORLEANS During the second half of Sunday's Super Bowl, lights on half of the Superdome roof suddenly turned off. Internet connections in the press room stopped and lights off. After the sudden interruption, many of the 71.024 viewers began to murmur. The failure of about two minutes was one of the most incredible moments in the history of the Super Bowl.

In 2014 to SAN PAOLO A few minutes from the start of the World Cup's inaugural race between Brazil and Croatia, in the plant vip sector is lacking electricity and a generator is literally burning.  

In 2015 in Cagliari During a luxury friendly match between Cagliari and Real Zaragoza, after a few minutes the game is suspended because the two headlamps suddenly go out. The blackout continues until the end of the first half and the referee decides to resume the game even if the lighting is only partial.

In 2016 in Palermo During the match between Palermo and Torino, for a few minutes, due to a blackout, some of the lights at the Barbera Stadium have stopped working. Rosanero fans answered with irony trying to light up the cell phone and they chanted a chorus: "Zamparini pays the light" ...

In 2011 in Padua A high-ranking clash on the Euganean Stadium on the Calcio Serie B between the Padua and Turin captain, started to look fought and enjoyable, but that would have turned out to be a real mockery for the Grenades.

During the second race of the race, unusual extra-sporting events are taking place, affecting the game: the lights of the Euganean race continue to fail, with first partial and then total blackouts. Just during the first of these, partial, comes the grid of Ruopolo's advantage that mocks Coppola's grenade goalkeeper who complains of low visibility.

Turin appealed against Padua who there is a danger of a 25-30. 000 euro.

Former Padua and Turin, Roberto Muzzi declared: "Saturday was a great match as far as it was played. The black-out? These things happen, it can happen. "

In 2017 in the race between Flamengo and Vasco da Gama , A game destined to go to history as one of the most incredible. During the race a Blackout left the stadium lit up exclusively by the fans' smartphone lights on the stairs.

Surely in all above mentioned cases more than anyone has generated beyond the obvious economic losses a serious image damage that does not erase certain paying money.

How important is a generator in a stadium?

The answer to this question is "five nine".

Rather the right question would be how much the security and structure manager is willing to risk? What's more, how much is the Calcio team playing matches against you?

Anyone who is not willing to risk turns to a specialized company and is concerned about having the best backup system possible.

We can clearly say that in a structure such as the Juventus Stadium (Allianz Sadium) the precautions taken in this regard are definitely higher than those adopted at other stages where we are often relied on generators to use Shipyard, installed as if there was no tomorrow And perpetually in derogation to something.

It smiles like the unsuccessful generators with obsolete technology, which requires an operator to go directly to the generator to check fuel levels and operational status, while the rest of the world using up-to-date technology is sitting In a steering cabin to handle everything comfortably from a terminal.

It's as if to see if there's still fuel in the car you need to get out of the car and personally test the level in proximity through the charging cap!

Who knows how many times we hear the choir from the Curve

Or some of the hopeless romantic presidents like to see the stadium lit  by the fans' cell phones.

Power Generator installed at Alessandria Stadium (Italy).

Power Generator installed at Alessandria Stadium (Italy).


"We stayed in this residence a few days ago for new year's day, a bleckout from 9.30pm up to 04.00AM without any informations from the Hotel Stuff. Obviously, no way about a refound...”

[The Hotel response]

"Dear. Mr Matteo, we are sorry for the discomfort caused by the lack of electricity during the hours you mentioned but, as communicated to all customers, the problem was caused by a failure in the electric cabin of Enel and our staff Maintenance, always present until restoration, was not authorized to intervene. "

If you don't want to justify yourself to your customersas a kid with your customers for something you don't even have to be blamed for, you absolutely should  read this article ...

In the modern era, where even the most complex operation is carried out using a smartphone, telling a customer that the fault comes from your network operator sounds ridiculous.

How  would you like it if the restaurant owner told you that your Carbonara Spaghetti will never come to your table because "those of the gas" did not bring a loaded gas cylinder?

You can not bounce on the Customer a problem that is exclusively yours.

Emergency Generator at the Hotel: Why you shouldn't  underestimate it.

Have you ever tried to keep your eyes closed for a few minutes? Just to test your other senses and maybe orient yourself in a room or a premise. Some of us  wake up at night, get out of bed and drink a glass of water without opening the eyes not even for a minute.

My grandfather, though he missed sight as a child, used to remember by heart most of the electrical wires of an electric motor, and was even able to tell others how to connect. Even today, talking to him, I wonder how he did it! I hardly remember what I ate yesterday.

One thing is for sure, though: staying in the dark without seeing anything is difficult. Every operation becomes complicated and you feel a very intense sense of insecurity , so that reopening the eyes, makes you feel like a great relief.

Now, however, we try to make the situation more complicated by the fact that more people inside the same room close their eyes and have to get inside it without hurting themselves.

I think it's definitely complicated, do not you find it?

If you turned off the light, were you? In this case you have no reasons for staresereno.

Should any of those who are in the dark get harmed? No one would want to be in your place.

Maybe you will not believe it but this is what can happen in a hotel when electricity is lost and everything goes out: lights, elevators, hoists, computers, telephone switchboards, video surveillance, home automation, etc etc A large number of people (including you) find themselves closed-minded to have to move hoping they will not do harm and above all not hurt someone.

Maybe you're thinking I'm just pulling water out of my mill, and here you live blackouts and emergency generators during blackout, but you're wrong.

In fact, the solution to the situation I have imagined before is not to have an Emergency Generator in the Hotel, but something more: " Possessing an emergency generator that is really efficient ".

Between having an emergency generator and having one working there is a big difference, like that between launching an airplane with a parachute or throwing a rucksack.

Most of the hotels with a couple of stars and a quality-oriented property feature an emergency generator, but only 3 accommodation on 10 has one that actually works.

Why? It's simple: they do not do the proper maintenance!

When a computer does not work, or when an air conditioner is failing, the facilities quickly resolve the problem, and when it comes to emergency generator sets it seems there is always time available.

If you are a maintainer and you are wiping your nose, I can assure you that you are misunderstood what I have written. I know you are maintenance to the generator, but we both know that you sometimes have some sometimes structural and / or temporal limits for which you certainly have no fault. (You probably often find yourself doing more than you would have to do).

We can say, if I were a top-of-the-line generator, the generator would be the most efficient machine in the facility and it would not be in the least economic and image loss.

I remember the matches of Soccer where the goalkeeper who missed the last minute and missed in turn came to the door. It happens then that at the end of the game there is always the "phenomenon" that pulls the sums with other comrades on how many goals the team lost my fault while I was in the door.

Now I say, but in my opinion if I was a "good goalkeeper", would I ever play soccer with you ?!

That is why it must be objective: The regular maintainer, though good and prepared, can make some nice parade, but to save a penalty it will take a real Goalkeeper!

 Security: Protect yourself

Bullets, burnt, crushed, suffocated, mutilated: Generating sets may die.

Being aware of those who are at risk while starting a generating set could make the difference between a live and a deadman maintainer.

Speaking of security at the hotel or in any accommodation facility, restaurant, bar, etc, we refer mainly to two figures, that of the client is that of the employee in the structure.

Both figures must be protected in the same way but with different systems and instruments since it is clear that the level of information you can give to the customer is not comparable to what you have to give to your staff.

In order to protect you, you have to protect it, so in practice you have to give evidence of how you have provided specific training on the generation of the generator and how this has been maintained efficiently through regular maintenance activities.

Costs: how to handle them

Specific strategies can be adopted to optimize the costs of managing a generator.

The first thing to avoid is that you do not handle the maintenance regularly. Statistically, a maintenance-free generator does not work right at the moment it has to work.

An intelligent way of managing costs is also to plan the most important maintenance interventions during low attendance periods, allowing scheduled rematches and functional tests, avoiding having to require night or week breaks at higher rates.

Safely manage a generator failure at the Hotel

For your safety and that of your collaborators, I ask you to avoid improvised and precarious solutions that may turn away from you. It's better a blackout than a serious accident.

As soon as you notice a blackout that is not readily contained by the emergency generator, you can proceed by following these three simple steps:

1. Find out the magnitude of the blackout. You have to determine whether this is a fault in your facility or a failure affecting a wider area served by the electric operator.

2. Make sure there are no Guests inside any elevators, and then put them out of service.

3. Only after you have made the previous steps you can collect the ignition information and contact the service center. When contacting the service center, keep the generator, engine and alternator nameplate data available.

If I read this article is a Hotel Manager or a maintainer, I can prophesize with certainty that in the event of blackout and failure of the generator, both will rush in front of the generator to try to figure out what is happening.

I know very well what happens in these cases, so I thought about giving you a gift: "A cover for the main breakdowns of the generator". It is a poster we provide to all Hotels that enter into a maintenance contract with us. It is very useful in case of failure because it allows you to understand how to operate and contact us aware of what is the information we need.

Our "hotels" usually expose them outside the technical premises, or they keep a copy in the office at hand. Often they have solved many problems autonomously without cost of intervention.