After Hurricane Harvey, Hospital Focuses On Power Resiliency

Learning a lesson from the impact of power failure during a natural disaster, Citizens Medical Center added emergency power to its emergency room and beyond.

When Hurricane Harvey swept through the Gulf Coast in August 2017, Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, TX experienced the immediate impacts of power failure. The 338-bed acute care not-for-profit hospital was equipped with an emergency generator, but like most hospitals, it only had the capacity to support the equipment, life safety, and critical loads required for regulatory compliance. Backing up only the required loads, but not the entire facility, can lead to patient risk and operational disruption. During Harvey, the loss of both electricity and water at Citizens was risky enough to require patients to be evacuated to a safer location.

power resiliencyTo ensure that power outages would no longer impact the safety, medical care, and comfort of its patients, Citizens entered into an agreement with Houston-based Enchanted Rock, LLC. Enchanted Rock’s natural gas microgrids will supply redundant electrical service for Citizens, ensuring the hospital will maintain full power despite natural disasters or other utility interruptions.

“After our experience during Harvey, we wanted to find a way to remain open and be the safe location the community needs next time a disaster strikes,” said Citizens CEO Mike Olson. “We now feel confident going into the 2020 hurricane season knowing that our power resiliency is in the hands of experts and were surprised to discover that this risk could be addressed so affordably with Enchanted Rock’s proven resiliency solution.”

Enchanted Rock’s natural gas backup generators provide continuous electrical service during severe weather events, including Hurricane Harvey, which made the company an attractive choice to Citizens. Unlike other alternatives, Enchanted Rock’s microgrids provide full facility backup. Its natural-gas powered engines can run indefinitely with unlimited fuel supply delivered through robust underground infrastructure. The hospital will now be able to remain open and serve the community even when the utility service goes down.

In addition to providing power resiliency, Citizens also selected Enchanted Rock generators for the company’s attractive financial terms. Enchanted Rock’s Integrated Reliability on Call (iROC) service allows Citizens to pay a small fraction of the total cost of owning a standard reliability system, making it a cost-effective choice for the hospital.

“During disasters, hospitals shouldn’t be closing to evacuate patients,” said Thomas McAndrew, CEO of Enchanted Rock. “They should be open to serve the community and save lives and we are delighted to be able to help Citizens achieve this goal.”

Texas Microgrid, LLC owns and Enchanted Rock operates the system for the life of the agreement, allowing Citizens to focus its time and energy on what matters most —providing high-quality service for its patients. Citizens anticipates this solution will be constructed and ready for operation just in time for the 2020 hurricane season.