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Power & HVAC Case Study

Right-sizing Temporary Power for a Refinery Outage


United Rentals slashes the number of generators needed by adding prewired electrical distribution

Customer challenge

Due to Covid, a major refinery in Western Canada was behind in their planned maintenance. After cancelling their fall 2020 outage, they sought to roll that work into the summer 2021 outage. Given this expansion in overall scope, multiple operating units within the refinery would now be doing their outage work concurrently. This meant proper scheduling and execution were critical to the success of the project.

Based on previous outages, the refinery initially requested a quote for 60 generators ranging in size from 60 kW to 1500 kW.

United Rentals Power and HVAC solution

United Rentals worked proactively with the refinery to identify the best way to fulfill their temporary power needs. After mapping out the size requirements and considering the locations of the generators within the facility and the in-use dates, the Power and HVAC team saw an opportunity to create a more efficient and economical solution.

Using spreadsheets, the team showed instances in which generators could be repositioned to nearby areas when the in-duty period ended, and the equipment scheduled for the nearby area had not yet been put into service. By adding additional electrical distribution prewired into these areas, the refinery could eliminate the need for more than 20 rental generators.

The team explained how Total Control©, the United Rentals cloud-based worksite management solution, could set alerts for the generator relocation dates and monitor the units while in operation at the refinery. The customer decided to proceed with the proposal, which reduced the generator package from 60 units to 37 units.


The outage went as planned, with no downtime related to the temporary power solution. Right-sizing the generator package resulted in a cost savings of more than $74,000.

It is always best practice to consult an expert for any project for site-specific safety and other requirements.