Power cuts in Britain: the battles businesses are facing

The unpredictability of the British weather is causing stress to our systems nationwide and potentially causing power outages. Earlier this year, in July, 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.

Not all businesses are prepared for such scenarios. 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

Britain has witnessed many 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.

Below are the three most common power cuts to occur 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 which type of power cut occurs can vary, 80% of power cuts between 2003 and 2012 were caused by weather conditions.

Damages to your organisation

Nationally, many businesses run off the power of energy. 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.

It doesn’t matter if you experience significant power cuts or just a slight delay, there is a risk of data being lost. 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.

A business’s cost for downtime will vary. 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.

To work out how much downtime costs on average 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?

Each business is ran differently and has a different set of priorities. 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.

For most companies, there’s a reliance on the internet, so you may struggled without connectivity. 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 crucial that you put a plan in place so your team know what to do in the event of a power cut. 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 cylinder suppliers.

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Ive been blogging now for 5 years on various sites for the love of knowledge share. I decided to start my own blog a few years back to share everything from tech to business news. Follow me on twitter for more.