Powering your event

One of the most complicated things we get asked about is how to power your event. So we’ve put together this blog to hopefully give you some guidance. It’s just to give you an understanding rather than concrete information and if you’re unsure you should always look to get professional advice.

It can be quite complicated, so we called on Adam at Mesters Events to help us us out, as he’s worked on event power for years. He’s a qualified PAT tester.

When working out how much power your event needs there are two considerations – the watts required and the amps pulled. This is commonly broken into layman’s using the water analogy.

Watts = pressure of the water
Amps = volume of water that flows past a fixed point in a fixed amount of time

Many jobs we do simply take power from a socket(s) in a house or an external location. All of our lighting is LED based so with 3 x 30ft x 40ft marquees seating 150, our lighting pulls around 1200 watts and needs 5 amps. Roughly equivalent to a kettle boiling. Therefore providing your entertainment or catering isn’t pulling too much power so taking power from the house shouldn’t be a issue. That’s of course if someone isn’t inside having a shower with a sunday roast in a electric oven.

Generators – this is where it gets tricky. Typically for the size of events we do, which tends to be 100-250 people, we use 20kva or 40kva silenced generators. When planning your event it’s worth finding
out what the continuous power output is – this is usually about 80% of the KVA.

For example a 20kva generator will comfortably supply around 16kw of continuous power so when you are working out how much power you are needing the simplest way is to work out what size generator you need is to add up how much power each service will use.

3 x Trapeze marquees lighting (fairy lights around arches and 16 uplighters) = 1200 watts (1.2kw)

So the total in the above instance is 5.9kw. This would run comfortably on a 20kva generator with a 16kw rating.

The good thing about using a generator is it will come with a number of 16 amp outlets and 32 amp outlets. Being broken down this much gives you plenty of volume so that you’re not putting too much strain on one circuit.

Whether you’re using a generator or power from the venue it’s worth checking to see what connections you have. Typically it’s common for 16amp or 32amp outdoor connections to be used, so you may need an adaptor to connect a standard 240v plug. We have adapters and distribution boards which can be hired.

If you’re not sure of your event power needs it is worth speaking to a professional, electricity is extremely dangerous and should always be installed and signed off by a competent person.