63,000 properties In North Lancashire were estimated to have been hit by a power cut on the 21st June 2017, and Edinburgh Airport had to delay flights on the 28th June, due to power related incidents. Power outrages are likely to happen if you have more than 170,000 km of electricity cables to maintain. How much could a power outage affect your business?
Together with retailers of commercial gas, Flogas, we investigate the cost to businesses if power outrages happen and what options can be done to protect your company from an unplanned disruption.
Causes of Power Cuts
There are many different reasons that can cause a power cut to strike. Reasons such as harsh weather conditions – It was reported in January 2015, one million people across the North-Eastern Scotland were left without power, after a storm had broken and struck the power lines. Hurricane Irma that occurred in Florida last year, had caused 4.4 million homeowners to lose their electricity.
One other reason is the growing electricity supply in the UK. Jenifer Baxter who is the head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said, “Under current [government] policy, it is almost impossible for UK electricity demand to be met by 2025,”. Along with proposals to phase out coal-fired power and a lack of investment in national grid infrastructure, power failures and blackouts are expected to become more common.
There are some uncommon reasons that cause blackouts. There was a reported incident in Somerset, that a squirrel had bit through some power cables and caused 1,000 homes to lose their electricity.
It can also depend on where you live as to how many times you’ experience life without power. The South of England had experienced the most blackouts compared the rest of the UK in 2015, with 124 incidents.
It’s more common that a power cut can last only a few hours but they can sometimes last days or weeks. Regards of their cause, they are inconvenient and can have harmful effects on businesses.
Cost to your business
An average power cut lasts 50 minutes in the UK. Even though it might not sound much, but a single hour of downtime was estimated to cost a small business £800, which could be very damaging.
Larger organisations can understandably lose a lot more from a power cut, but are also expected to recover quicker. Google had reportedly lost power in 2013 and experienced losses of £100,000 per minute.
There are various reasons behind the losses. Having no electricity means that employees cannot communicate with customers, which can affect potential sales. An ecommerce company could struggle to access their website to monitor sales and client requests. Unsaved material is also at risk of being wiped out if a power cut occurs, which can be costly for small businesses.
Measures that can be taken
In general, power cuts can be caused by reasons beyond our control and are very inconvenient. Thankfully, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the damage caused from one.
You could consider purchasing a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). This can keep a computer running for a shore while when the main electricity cuts off. There is a warning sign that often get displayed on a computer screen to alert the user that the power has gone off, giving them time to save unfinished work.
You could also install a standalone generator, which can be used for an emergency if the power cuts off because it doesn’t rely on power supplied by the main grid. It’s worth considering gas cylinders too.
Apart from the two actions, you could ensure that you’re saving you work regularly or encourage your employees to and also have a contingency plan. This could be using a mobile phone to alert your customers that your power is down.