Generating peace of mind
That effective slogan sums up what Total Power is all about and most importantly, it’s a credo it lives up to on a daily basis when tending to the servicing needs of its valued customers. The company has been in business in one form or another since 1959, with the current owners taking the reins in 1999.
Total Power has built its success in supplying generators through advanced expertise, integrity and innovation. It delivers more than 500 projects annually, performs more than 8,000 service calls yearly and offers more than 400 years of combined field service experience for customers.
A solution for almost any dire circumstance, Total Power offers optimal results for all kinds of business or industry demands. Whether you own a restaurant or computer room or need backup power to keep a major airport functioning, this company offers to provide the best solution to meet your energy requirements.
The company’s roots stem from Ontario, with additional locations in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. The primary focus is servicing these three provinces, and while Total Power doesn’t typically search for business outside its provinces of current operation, if a customer were to take it elsewhere, Total Power will certainly be there to assist. This tremendous flexibility and desire to expand its boundaries has resulted in the company taking on substantial projects in the Caribbean and US. Total Power staff have worked with engineering consultants, contractors, owners and property managers in all provinces, experiencing a wide variety of project sizes and types, and serving a multitude of industries and market segments.
Essential energy solutions
Asked what Total Power is all about, Vice President Andy Rudderham says the company sells and services generators but is not focused on the “little ones that you would rip a cord to fire up in the back of a pickup or at a campground”.
Instead, Total Power focuses on commercial, industrial and institutional generator sets, primarily for backup purposes but also for prime power applications – “sources of power” – in any kind of market that cannot afford to be without power. Examples include municipal infrastructure such as water and sewer pumping stations, as well as essential services including data centres, hospitals, the telecommunications industry, financial institutions, call centre Emergency Response and airports, all of which are examples of entities that require reliable backup power sources when the main power grid unexpectedly goes down.
With today’s society being more and more dependent on computers there is an ever-growing expectation for reliable generators and, as Rudderham notes, “the whole world comes to a halt” when the power goes out and computer systems go down.
What happens when there is no power? Events like last summer’s flood on Toronto’s Highway 427 or Calgary’s disastrous floods trigger awareness in people as to what generators actually do. Events such as these strike a chord within the minds of most people. Businesses whose computer facilities are suddenly underwater, or a distribution facility that is otherwise incapacitated, or hydro or utilities that are suddenly without distribution lines, affect people even if they are located many kilometres away. Other natural disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and the numerous hurricanes and tornadoes south of the border, continue to heighten awareness of the overall need for backup power sources to keep things running when regular power is lost. With today’s society more reliant on technology, it raises the issue of what would you do without power?
Generators, according to Rudderham, are “fixed assets, bolted to the ground”. They are attached to a concrete pad often in a room that is clean, secure and stable. For example, in a high-rise apartment building’s underground parking lot, you may see a generator room as you pass through the lot. Generator rooms can also be on other floors of a building, on a rooftop or outside a building. Today’s stringent building and life safety codes require minimum temperatures, lighting, and/or airflow among other things for a proper generator system.
Solid, reliable product lines
Rudderham notes that while the generator industry is not a “sexy” one, it is fundamentally a basic business. Total Power’s success comes from old fashioned marketing, providing value to clients and from a solid, reliable product line. When asked about technological advances for generators, Rudderham suggested two major trends.
One is emissions improvements, spurred on by the EPA in the US. Engine manufacturers had to come up with new technology for cleaner burning engines to power generators under the stricter standards. Diesel engines no longer spew black flumes of smoke and many owners are going one step further by insisting on gaseous fuelled units or exhaust after treatment systems for further emissions reduction. While this is good for the environment, it has increased the costs of generators.
The second advancement is increased technology with controls. Rudderham goes on to explain about the technological advances with generator controls. Even though a generator is mostly an engine bolted to an alternator, it still needs a “brain,” which controls and monitors the generator set. He likens the technological advances in the controls to televisions of the past – big, bulky pieces of furniture where you had to change the channel manually, as opposed to today’s inches-thick plasma or LCD televisions that you can operate wirelessly and connect to other electronic devices in your home.
That same principle applies to generators. Long gone are the analogue gauges and mechanical devices monitoring such things as temperature and oil pressure. Now it is all monitored by sophisticated digital technology that has not only saved space but also made the generators far more efficient and reliable. They can even notify your service provider directly to dispatch technicians when a problem surfaces.
Rudderham explains that there are two main types of generator applications: “standby” or “emergency”, which are most often used in urban areas in situations as described above and “prime” or “continuous use” which are typically used at a location where there are no utilities or other sources of power.
Serving remote industries
Total Power also provides generators to remote areas such as towns or gas plants in Northern Alberta, British Columbia or Ontario where there is no continuous source of power. Outposts such as remote resource camps also use these generators to provide electricity to industrial plants and base camps.
Aside from the more mainstream stationary applications, there is the rental side of Total Power’s business offering “generators on wheels” used in oil field services, construction job sites, mining, or anywhere you have the need for a temporary source of power.
When asked about the size of Total Power’s production, Rudderham says “We are not so much a manufacturer, but more of an integrator of engineered products to provide a power solution suiting a specific application.”
Total Power is proud to represent a full line of generator products within our home provinces. They can manufacture units, if necessary, and have done so, but prefer to concentrate on being a value added sales/service organisation offering power generation expertise to the industry.
On continuing his assertion of Total Power, and the products and services the company provides, he says: “We are not just selling and fixing (generators), we want to get involved from the very beginning of the design stage. Total Power will help a customer through the design phase of a project, hoping that when a project comes out for bid through the construction trades that they have an opportunity to bid on the project, land it, ship it, and assist where necessary. Once the end-user owns the generator and the systems and components, Total Power likes to be there and to be involved in maintenance and repair services for the life of the asset.”
Aside from its primary commercial and industrial focus, Total power does offer generators for homes as well. Blackouts, brownouts, ice storms, lightning and floods are just some of the unpredictable weather events that can adversely affect an entire neighbourhood and beyond. With a residential generator, you have the ability to protect your family from the devastating effects of such extreme weather and the resultant power outages from the main grid that often follow.
Total Power offers a range of residential generators that are pre-configured and pre-packaged specifically to bring safe, reliable yet affordable power for residences, using natural gas, propane and diesel as primary fuel options.
Total Power is one of the largest providers of generators in Canada.
“Although we may compete against some larger companies, many of our competitors handle a variety of unrelated products. Total Power’s sole focus is on power-gen, making us one of the biggest and we certainly like to think of ourselves as one of the best and most sought after,” Rudderham notes. “Ask around, we have a great reputation.”
Total Power’s recent projects include the Bow Tower in Calgary, PAN AM Games sites in the Greater Toronto Area, King Edward Memorial Hospital in Bermuda, Alberta First Responders, an Operations Centre for a major Canadian airline and many more high-level projects right across the country.
It should also be noted that Total Power was the only generator company permitted access into the downtown core during the Calgary floods last summer. Why?
“We are responsive and have good people,” Rudderham states proudly. “We have a lot of really good people that are dedicated to what they do.”
Widely respected throughout the industry, Total Power has built its core success through top-notch expertise, integrity and innovation in providing customer solutions by delivering safe, reliable generator solutions while at the same time offering long-term protection for power generation systems for businesses and institutional needs.