Over 75% of IT users have suffered power issues in the past twelve months according to a recent industry survey.

The research questioned 2000 UK based IT and data centre professionals regarding the current state of the supply energy industry in the United Kingdom. The survey also revealed the level of concern business users have over the reliability of power in the future – with 78% of those questioned agreeing with the statement: ‘The reliability of power in the UK is going to become a major concern for my business in the next ten years’.

Recent energy forecasts, produced by Research and Markets, have predicted that the UK will generate 5.18% of developed markets energy production by 2014 and may even offer the UK a modest energy surplus. However, judging by the opinions of those questioned, the current situation is rather different, with a significant gap between energy generation and delivering power to UK businesses.

Working in the UPS industry every day, I see the vital need for energy security and our recent survey demonstrates that improvements are still required. As a nation, we should be able to produce enough power to supply every business 24/7/365, but it simply doesn’t work like that.

The national grid doesn’t connect every energy user together, so while one area could be running a surplus, unconnected neighbouring regions are facing brown outs and even black outs.

Furthermore, when there’s a national surge in demand or a issue with production, businesses are the first to be affected. 2010 saw companies such as British Sugar and Vauxhall’s car plant at Ellesmere Port having their power cut off. This should not be happening today in the UK.

The views of those questioned reflect statements made by energy regulator Ofgem, who earlier this year claimed Britain faces severe power cuts over the next decade unless government ministers take greater control of the privatised gas and electricity network.

The gloomy assessment of the UK’s power stations, claimed there were serious doubts that the current system, deriving from privatisation 20 years ago, will be able to cope with the increased demand.

Businesses are faced everyday with rising costs and increased legislation relating to energy but what they aren’t seeing is the investment in the next stage of infrastructure to provide affordable energy for the future. OEMs are doing everything they can to reduce power consumption and every new product boast’s energy efficiency as a key selling point but this isn’t enough.

Many business leaders believe that government investment in new energy generation is insufficient, and as the survey demonstrates, those questioned are deeply concerned about how they are going to afford to run their businesses in the years to come.

The answer can not only come from efficient equipment, it has to also come from the energy suppliers. At the moment, businesses are not seeing the shift towards renewable and sustainable energy happening quick enough – something has to change.