In an effort to save on electricity, many facilities have installed either motion-sensitive or timed lighting systems designed to light the rooms when people are present and/or during predetermined hours. While these systems are fantastic for saving money on monthly electric bills, they can be a hassle if your event is held during non-business hours.
Sudden outages are frustrating, often cause extreme confusion for attendees, and are not always easily fixed. Sometimes lights need time to warm back up, sometimes the physical switch to turn them back on is hidden, and sometimes the building supervisor needs to be on hand to flip the switch.
What time is it?
If your event is during normal business hours, most timed light systems shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s a great idea to check with building maintenance to know exactly when the lights are planned to turn off, and how to turn them back on. We’ve seen too many late-night set up crews have to quit before they were done—or paid overtime—because the lights went out and no one still at the facility could turn them back on. Check, recheck and then have someone available to turn them back on.
Check the schedule
While venue power schedules are not usually public information, IT or building maintenance should have this information. Making friends with them is an integral part of a successful event. While the venue contact may have all the necessary authority, it’s the guys and gals working in the bowels of the building that have real power (pun completely intended). Be nice to them and get to know their names; they’ll make your life a whole lot easier.
For motion sensitive systems, remind room users of this feature. We often see this type of setup in small rooms or offices where the lights going out won’t cause mass confusion, but be sure to explain exactly how to turn them back on, even if it’s just raising a hand.
People don’t like surprises. Teach your staff what to do with something out of the ordinary happens and attendees will love you for it.