IT managers are being accused of ignorance over their power consumption figures, despite spiralling energy prices and the looming 'energy crunch,' which could lead to power shortages in four years time.
IT consultancy The DMW Group, has published new research that was carried out by Vanson Bourne last month, which surveyed over 100 IT managers and IT directors at U.K. businesses with revenues exceeding £50 million ($87 million).
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It found that more than 70 percent of businesses admit they are concerned about future power shortages, but very few are taking any steps to minimize the risk.
The survey cited previous data published by the power generating company E.ON, which predicts that by 2012, the U.K. (particularly the south east of England), could experience power 'brown-outs (partial loss of power) or indeed blackouts (complete loss of power).
This is because the U.K. is facing a shortage of power generation due to the fact that many U.K. power stations are reaching the end of their operating life, or they are facing closure because they contravene European directives. Building suitable replacement power stations, whether nuclear or fossil-fuel, is expected to take at least ten years, when lengthy planning processes, bureaucracy, and environmental debate are taken into account.
"We have ourselves have previously said that there could shortfall in power generator by as early as 2016," said a spokesman from rival power generator company EDF. "However we are clearly investing at the moment. We are building a gas fired power station in Nottinghamshire (due 2011). We are also committed to supply 1,000 megawatts of renewable capacity by 2012. We are also clear in our intention to part new nuclear build in the UK."
E.ON did not respond to Techworld at the time of writing.
The DMW survey meanwhile also found that only seven percent of U.K. businesses were able to estimate, with any reasonable accuracy, how much energy their IT operations are using. And 68 percent of organizations did not understand the energy efficiency of their data centers, one of the largest consumers of power for IT operations.
"It is certainly true that there are a large number of data centers in the south east of England compared to rest of country," said Simon Williams, director at DMW. "But this is a grid problem. Coal fired power stations are not meeting emission standards, and old nuclear stations need to be replaced. The drop off of generating capacity, plus the steady increase in demand, will mean that by 2012, demand exceeds supply.
"The main point from survey was that over half of IT managers are underestimating their IT energy consumption by a factor of two. They have got their numbers wrong," Williams told Techworld.
"They are not helped that there are few IT tools out there to measure power consumption," he added. "Knowing for example how many PCs and servers you have, how long they are left on for, etc, is a good start."