Around 63,000 properties were affected by power cuts across North Lancashire on June 21st, flights from Edinburgh faced delays on June 28th 2017, the storms of December caused an array of power cuts throughout the UK, and this year alone (as of the first week of January 2018) 22,000 homes in Northern Ireland and England have been left without power. Overall on average there has been 4.9 million planned power cuts and 96 million unplanned over the past 5 years, the loss of money to businesses and homeowners due to this is catastrophic and that is just focusing on the UK! Worldwide power cuts affect billions of people each year so it is vital that you know how to minimise the impact this has on you, and your livelihood.
What causes a power cut?
The answer to this question is not a straightforward problem followed by a solution as there are many reasons why power cuts ensue. Such as;
Weather – January 2015 saw One Million people across North East Scotland without power due to unpredictable weather which caused a power line to be damaged.
Florida was hit by Storm Irma earlier in the year which caused a whopping 4.4 million homeowners to be without power as a result.
Unpredictable and dangerous weather is one of the main causes of power cuts as it brings with it a range of risks, not only the weather itself but the aftermath of debris can cause damage to power lines, and also cause repairs to be put on hold during darker hours of the night as the safety of the workers carrying out the repairs must also be remembered as a priority.
New Developments – Proposals to phase out coal-fired power due to limited resourcing, and outdated methods coinciding with lack of adequate investment into the National Grid Infrastructure means that failures and power outages are becoming more common as there simply isn’t enough resources to fulfil the ever-growing power demands of the public.
There are also more uncommon and rather trivial reasons for power cuts such as squirrels chewing the lines! This recently occurred in Somerset and left nearly 1,000 without power in their homes and businesses.
Location- Research shows that Southern England suffered the most power cuts in the UK during 2015 with 124 incidents.
The cost of a power cut
Power cuts can vary on how long they last, with some just a few minutes and others days. But regardless of how long the power is out, the inconvenience and cost still apply which can be detrimental to small businesses.
The average time for a power cut in the UK is 50 minutes, which for a small business can cost an estimated £850 which is certainly not cheap! This comes down to the great amount of reliability we have on power. Our stoves and microwaves all have clocks nowadays which will require resetting and that’s just in our homes. Factories have dozens of systems, and monitors that can get burned out due to power outages and therefore a routine check is needed to be put in place to ensure that when the power is back business can return as usual (these checks take time away from regular work and can put production behind schedule meaning more costs!)
Electronic control systems also run with many customized settings that will sometimes go back to default once the power restores, this can take time and work to get things back up and configured. The consequences of this, especially for information security control systems, is major.
The bigger the business the bigger the loss when applications are disrupted, steps must be put in place to ensure that the loss can be minimized where possible. When Google lost power back in 2013 it was estimated that they were losing £100,000 per minute!
Losses can vary from industry to industry but the fundamentals remain the same. Lack of power = Lack of business.
For sales operatives, no power can mean no way to communicate with potential customers which in turn equals loss of potential sales
E-commerce businesses to lose power can be a great loss as No power = No access to the website so they cannot monitor sales or requests, and in some cases, their whole servers may crash meaning no customers can access their site!
Steps to decrease damage
Businesses should assess the damage that power cuts can cause to their business and put together procedures in order to minimize it
You can reduce the damage by having a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) which allows things to keep running once the power is off. Purchasing a standalone generator is one of the smartest moves you can make a business to reduce the impact power cuts have. They can be used in emergencies, and don’t rely on the grid for their power so national power cuts and planned power outages will not affect how they run. Bespoke options are also available to ensure that whatever your business is that the power solution will be right for it, with Automatic Transfer Switches to make switching to back up power even more seamless and quick and silencers, plugs, water jacket heaters etc. you really can get the perfect solution.
If your provider regularly sends out an alert of planned power cuts then lease hiring or owning your very own generator is a great way to tackle this as it means you will not be affected and work can resume as normal!
If you do own a generator on site then it is vital that you regularly load test and service it in order for it to remain reliable and running to the highest standard to ensure that you are always covered when the power goes out.
Call one of our sales team to get more information on the correct power solution for you on 01757 428140