Power Cuts In Britain: The Battle Businesses Face

power cuts in Britain business obstacle

There’s no getting away from the fact that Britain’s weather is erratic. It can flip from glorious sunshine to a huge downpour in a matter of moments. This is getting blamed for our power outages of late. For example, in July 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 some businesses have thought ahead and prepared themselves to cope with such situations, unfortunately many have not. Power cuts aren’t only difficult to deal with when you are 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 witnessed 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, which means that there is a lot to contend with to ensure power cuts are kept to a minimum. However, some can’t be prevented even in 2023. 

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. 

Of course, the type of power cut will vary, but between 2003 and 2012, weather was said to be responsible for 80% of all outages – highlighting the importance of advanced preparation. 

Damages To Your Organization 

Nationwide, businesses run off the power of energy – meaning 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. 

Your business may lose data no matter how long you experience a power cut for. 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 downtime cost can vary from business to business. Some small businesses state that one hour of no power could cost £800, while 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 recent survey discovered that 23% of IT professionals said that one hour of business downtime cost their organization 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 work out the average cost of downtime an 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 works in a different manner, so priorities will change in each circumstance. 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. 

Also, it’s a fact that most companies rely on an internet connection too. 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. 

Perfect Planning

You must plan ahead and create a guide 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. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the power cuts in the UK and the battles that businesses are facing because of them.

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