For exhibit and event professionals  

Dilemma: How do I estimate what power I’ll need when I’m still in the dark?

October 4, 2011 By Editor

What’s the best way to estimate power requirements in my exhibit when I only have a rough idea of the equipment my product people are bringing? Sometimes we don’t have a final list until weeks before a show, and that can be a problem. The power orders are due way before that, and overestimating my requirements can be costly. Help!

— Powerless in Peoria

Our readers shine some light on the issue

Failing to get the cooperation of people who affect your budget — and how effectively you do your job — can be frustrating. But you can work around this situation. How?

Our readers suggest you:

• Base the future on the past.
• Use a formula for the solution.

Base the future on the past

If you’ve participated in a particular show before, you can use your records as a basis for your power requirements.

An event planner explains why this may be a good option.

“Make the best estimate you can based on past shows. If you have to place the initial order by a certain date, you can always change it. So, estimate high when you place the order, and then cancel what you don’t need when you get the actual specs. If you do this before the show installation begins, you won’t be charged for what you don’t use.”

Use a formula for the solution

Things change, including your exhibit and your power requirements. So, using past experience may not always work. When this is the case, a formula can help you determine how much power you need.

An account executive describes how this works.

“Actually, it’s possible to gauge power requirements without your business unit stakeholders’ participation. A standard reception counter rarely includes more than a laptop or lead retrieval device, requiring about 500 watts of power. A demo station can run between 1,000 and 2,000 watts, depending on the product or equipment you use. Multiply this by your number of stations, and you’ve got that figure. ‘Guesstimate’ a theater at 2,000 watts. Task lighting, a track light over a demo station, runs a negligible 50 watts and can feed from the wattage assigned to the station. So, even if you have nonparticipatory business units, you can still plan for your power requirements.”


  • I think a hard-line approach might be called for. “Powerless” should consider setting a drop-dead date for each product person to provide details on what equipment he or she will be bringing to the event and base the overall power requirements on these items. Those who don’t hit the deadline — and anyone who brings extra equipment — will have to eat the cost for additional power at the event. After the product people realize a lack of cooperation costs them money, they’ll probably shape up. Of course, “Powerless” should talk to his or her boss about this plan before putting it into place.

    Do you have any additional thoughts on how to give power to our reader?

  • Write a Reply or Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

    The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. Review Privacy Policy here