The Issues British Businesses are Facing with Power Cuts
The British weather can sometimes cause so many problems to systems across the UK, to the point that they get so severe and cause power outages. There were a number of power cuts at Thorpe Park in July 2018, for example, which resulted in several visitors getting stuck on rides at the theme park. It was the high levels of heat throughout the region which caused these. Over 15 reports of power cuts were recorded throughout Cambridgeshire around the same time, due to lightning strikes.
There are quite a few businesses who aren’t prepared when the British weather takes a turn for the worse and knocks out power. As an outage can mean a lot of lost productivity though, companies may not be able to afford to leave things to chance.
Understanding the impact of power cuts across the UK
There has been a long list of power cuts across the UK throughout history. You may be old enough to remember the miners’ strike in 1972, which caused major power issues – leading to a state of emergency being declared. A more recent power event that caused power outage to 40,000 properties was the result of Storm Frank in 2015.
Here are the three most common power outages that you may witness within the UK:
- Transient fault: lasting only a few seconds. This is a temporary fault, but power is automatically restored.
- Brownout: reduction in mains power supply that can last for a few days (e.g. lowered light levels) and cause machinery malfunction.
- Blackout: absolute power loss. As the most severe case of power outage, blackouts are often the most costly and difficult to recover from.
It is difficult to predict which type of power cut you’re going to encounter next. However, take note that 80% of power cuts between 2003 and 2012 were caused by weather conditions.
Why power cuts can prove problematic to your business
Energy is required by so many businesses today in order for their employees to carry out day-to-day tasks. This means that it is crucial to ensure operations remain consistent and don’t put a stop to our productivity. Below, we take a look at how power cuts can actually harm a business.
Data can be lost whether a power cut is severe and long-lasting, or just results in a slight delay being recorded. If this is the case, this could have a profound impact on any ongoing campaigns and prove difficult for you to meet deadlines on a range of projects and ultimately meet the requirements of a client. Imagine if all of your work is lost due to such circumstances – you might have to start your work from scratch.
The cost on a business because of the downtime will be varied too. Some small businesses state that one hour of no power could cost £800, while, believe it or not, Google lost their power in 2013 and this cost them £100,000 each minute. But, downtime could come down to several reasons. If your business does not have access to electricity for example, employees will not be able to communicate with customers. If you’re a business that operates as an ecommerce, you won’t be able to monitor online sales and respond to website queries.
Wondering how to calculate the costs of the downtime on average per hour? Here’s a general formula: Employee cost per hour x fraction of employees affected by the power cut x average revenue for each hour x fraction of the revenue that was affected by the outage
Can your business really afford to take the risk?
One business will run differently from another, not to mention having a unique set of priorities to focus on as well. If your company relies on computers and data, you should look at installing an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) that will allow your devices to run off battery power in the event of a power cut.
Internet will be relied upon by the majority of British businesses today. Therefore, you may struggle without connectivity during a power cut. If you set up a MiFi – which can operate as a WiFi hotspot – your staff will be able to connect to an ad-hoc network which can help you operate when a power cut does strike.
Teams throughout your business need to know how to act in the event of a power outage too. Do this by creating a team or committee that will determine the specific risks to your business — a small IT company will have different points to consider compared to a large factory — and then draw up a detailed process for mitigating these risks.
The research for this article was carried out by LPG gas tank suppliers Flogas LPG.