Britain’s weather can be unpredictable. From blazing sunshine to thunderous downpours, our weather can cause stress to our power systems and potentially cause power outages. Earlier this year, Thorpe Park experienced a series a power cuts which left worried visitors stuck on rides. Although you would think this was the result of harsh weather conditions, it was in fact due to high levels of heat across the region. Around the same time, there were more than 15 reports of power cuts in 24 hours across Cambridgeshire, which were caused by lightning strikes in the area.
While certain businesses are well prepared to cope with such situation, many aren’t. Power cuts aren’t only difficult to deal with when you’re at home, but in a work environment, this can cause lost productivity – can your business afford it?
A problem faced by the nation
The UK has been home to many memorable power cuts over the years. 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.
In Britain, there is more than 17,000km of electricity cables, so there is a lot to contend with to make sure power cuts are kept to a minimum. However, some can’t be prevented. Below, we have listed the most common types of power cuts here in Britain:
- 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.
While there are a variety of power cuts, between 2003 and 2012, it was the weather that caused 80% of them.
Damages to your organisation
All across the nation, businesses are in need of the power of energy to run. This means that is it 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.
It doesn’t have to matter if you experience a significant power cut or a slight delay, you could still lose data. 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.
Expert your power loss to last at least a day if you experience a blackout or brownout. This could potentially put a stop to all operations – and will definitely be a cost to you. As your staff are contracted to work (even though power cuts), you will still have to pay them. As well as this, if your business relies on communication by using the internet or phone lines – this could cost you sales.
The cost of downtime can vary. Some small businesses stating that one hour of no power could cost £800. 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.
A survey of IT professionals discovered that nearly a quarter said that one hour of business downtime cost their organisation between £10,000 and £1 million. Each year in Britain, as a result of IT downtime, businesses can pay the price of £3.6 million collectively and lose 545 productivity hours.
To figure out how much downtime costs each hour, this is the 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
Is it worth the risk?
Set your priorities correctly for your own business. 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.
Nowadays, the internet is important for most companies, too, and it could be difficult to cope without one. 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.
It’s vital that you plan ahead. Create a plan that your team know to follow. 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.
This article was provided by Flogas, LPG gas tank suppliers.