Talk Business: How To Make Sure A Blackout Doesn’t Leave Your Business In The Dark

What steps can businesses take to ensure they’re fully prepared for the power cuts?

The cold, harsh winter increases the probability of power problems. Demand for electricity is heightened, while renewable sources such as solar obviously contribute less than during the sunny summertime.

High winds can blow over trees that knock out transmission lines, snow melts and causes flooding, even animals gnawing through power cables as they take shelter from the cold – all these and more can turn the lights off.

As we explain to leading enterprise magazine Talk Business, blackouts can have a catastrophic impact on the country’s companies.

Research proves that just a single energy-related failure can cost a business nearly a fifth (17%) of their annual revenue. While an investigation by lobby group the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that 80% of firms hit by a major power failure were forced to shut inside a year and a half.

How Can Businesses Prepare For A Power Cut?

Of course, many businesses will use cloud-based software and storage services like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, which will have their own standby power infrastructure in place.

But what if a firm has its own on-site servers? Or computers? Or telephone systems? Tills and card payment terminals? Electrical equipment and machinery?

The obvious starting point is a reliable uninterruptible power supply that, in the event of a power disturbance or blackout, gives all these appliances the breathing space to safely save their work and safely shut down.

Not only does this reduce the threat of lost or corrupted data. It also minimises the chance of a damaging power surge when the power comes back on. This could cause a catastrophic overload.

We offer some simple advice on how to select the best UPS. While at first glance a UPS power supply might seem like a complex piece of kit, in reality choosing one can be as easy as establishing the load (total power a business uses) and the runtime (required length of battery backup power).

For further advice on UPS selection, watch our handy ‘UPS Basics‘ video.

Continuity Planning And Other Essential Backups During A Blackout

Our article also highlights a few other handy hints businesses should consider. The first is ensuring they have a robust continuity plan in place. This should take into account both preventative measures to reduce the risk of incidents, plus disaster recovery plans if the worst was to happen.

As with any such plan, it’s just as important that the plan is regularly audited. All relevant staff should be fully trained too.

Certain sites could also consider installing a backup generator that will keep them running even if there’s a lengthy power cut.

Read all our advice to companies about blackout preparedness at the Talk Business website