A word of warning to all potential UPS buyers from the President of Critical Power Services, Inc.
If you are currently in the market for a new or used Uninterruptible Power System (UPS), you need to be aware of a developing situation that threatens to SIGNIFICANTLY impact the long term cost of UPS ownership.
Several UPS manufacturers are now manufacturing products that require proprietary software or hardware to perform even the most basic service functions on their systems. Alarms that can't be cleared and system settings that can't be changed without calling in a factory service tech are becoming commonplace, limiting service options and eroding the degree of control that owners have over their infrastructure-critical power systems. As these practices become more common, many third party service providers will be forced out of business, further limiting your options for service and allowing manufacturers to charge higher and higher prices for their parts and service. Of course, if you're the sort of person who prefers using a factory service department and don't have any budgetary limitiations preventing you from doing so, you can quit reading right now and proceed with making your purchase.
However, anyone who's ever owned a UPS knows that the purchase price is only a small fraction of the total cost of ownership. Over the years, the cost of battery replacements, unexpected repairs, and routine maintenance services will quickly dwarf the initial purchase price and being at the mercy of an aggressively priced service department that holds a monopoly on the technology and equipment necessary to perform those services will only make matters worse. If left unchecked, service costs can make the long term costs of UPS ownership unberable.
Using the analogy of automobile ownership, would you ever consider buying a new car knowing that it could only be serviced by the company that sold it to you? And if you did happen to make that mistake, how happy would you be when you discovered that your mistake was going to cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars in additional service costs over the coming years? Not very happy, I can assure you. I know because I get panicked calls from desperate UPS owners every week, looking for alternatives to factory service.
As the owner and President of an independent power protection provider like Critical Power Services, Inc., I work very hard to provide cost-effective power protection solutions to my customers. I find these blatant attempts to establish service monopolies reprehensible and, most likely, illegal. Circumventing the fundamental principles of free trade and interfering with hundreds of third-party service providers' right to work is not only dishonest and unfair, it's downright un-American.
Perhaps we'll see some legal action taken to prevent these practices in the near future, but in the meantime, it's "buyer beware". So, if you would prefer to have some degree of control over your UPS maintenance and support costs, and want to avoid finding yourself at the mercy of a service organization that may or may not meet your needs or expectations, choose your products carefully. You'll probably want to ask any manufacturer you're considering doing business with some pointed questions about their product designs and service policies before making your decision. At Critical Power Services, Inc., we welcome these questions from our customers and will always strive to answer them fairly and objectively.
Critical Power Services, Inc. * 940 Oakland Park Avenue * Columbus, Ohio 43224