Keeping television stations on the air during power outages has become a paramount concern as stations provide critical information in times of natural disaster or weather emergencies. When CBS4 (KCNC-TV) and ABC7 (KMGH-TV) built a consolidated digital television tower on Lookout Mountain in suburban Denver, the job of providing emergency backup power went to GE Digital Energy, Lombard, Ill.

“Providing on-the-air news and information remains a fundamental tenet of who we are. In a crisis, natural disaster or weather emergency, television is a critical resource for the community,” said David Layne, CBS4 director of building operations and engineering technology. “A few years ago, television stations may have been willing to go without back-up power. Now, with new digital technologies, our responsibility to the community, and the 24/7 news cycle, it is critical to remain uninterruptible.”

Television towers are particularly susceptible to lightning strikes, which can cause power outages, brownouts or online power spikes. GE's uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) must stand ready to bridge the gap between utility power and an alternate back-up power source, such as a generator, ensuring power service remains uninterrupted.

Last summer the stations got convincing proof of the system's abilities. During a power outage that knocked their competitors off the air, the UPS transfer of power was so seamless that CBS4 and ABC7 were unaware of the power failure until they heard about it from the other television stations. “Our GE UPS systems operated flawlessly and kept our power and broadcasts going,” said Layne.

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