In Texas, winter is far from over. Instead, it has got worse—a lot worse. Over the first two weeks of February, thousands of residents had to deal with a frigid temperature at -40 degrees.
If that isn’t enough, the state ordered rolling power blackouts as the grid couldn’t cope with the demand. Besides the low supply of fuel, the state’s wind turbines are frozen. The order is also likely to stay until the situation becomes manageable.
The effects of power outages can vary, but they can be especially detrimental for businesses and work-from-home employees.
Power Outage Costs on a Business
How much can a business stand to lose during a power outage or blackout? The values can vary, although the figures are staggering.
According to E Source, a power outage could cost US companies over $25 billion annually. A three-day blackout may mean losing at least $50,000.
One study suggests that the average cost of downtime for the cellular communications industry could reach over $40,000 an hour. Airline reservations, meanwhile, could lose around $90,000 every 60 minutes.
The opportunity costs could balloon to $5 million per hour for manufacturing companies. Sadly, over 50% of them will eventually experience an outage for at least an hour.
A power outage, particularly one that’s sudden and long, can be just as hurtful to the workers. This is especially true among those working from home. More often than not, they don’t have any backup power like a generator that will allow them to get back to their job immediately.
But even if they do, their teammates may not have one. Moreover, the access to data may be limited as many offices still operate in a skeleton workforce. Some, especially small businesses, don’t invest in backup power.
Worse, the business may lose their valuable data. Depending on the volume, it may take them days or even weeks to rebuild them. In some cases, they are already non-recoverable or too corrupted or damaged to be repaired.
How Companies Can Minimize the Economic Impact of an Outage
An article in Popsci.com revealed that the United States has more power blackouts than any other developed nation. Moreover, they often last long.
People in the Upper Midwest may experience downtime for at least 92 minutes each year. However, in Japan, the same incident usually lasts for only 4 minutes a year.
Moreover, businesses do not have any control over power outages. The most they can do is to significantly reduce or even eliminate the economic effects of the problem. They can do it with these three ideas:
1. Make Data Backup Mandatory
Knowing how to recover data is good, but backing up the information is even better. It saves time, allows the business to get back to normalcy fast, and prevents employees from being unproductive for a long time.
Compared to the previous years, companies can now invest in cloud-based backup software. Not only can the technology back up data in real-time, but they are also accessible to authorized persons anytime, anywhere.
2. Review the Business Insurance Policy
A business insurance coverage is a smart investment, especially for small-time entrepreneurs. For one, they can use it to cover expenses that arise due to operation interruptions.
What many don’t know, however, often, a power outage isn’t one of them. The reason is simple: the company is likely to experience a blackout than other possible causes.
The good news is some insurers may offer such protection as an add-on. It may replace the income the business lost during those times the power was out.
Of course, any additional product to the insurance policy can raise its premiums. Note that business insurance costs can range from less than a thousand to over $15,000 a year. However, the company is likely to lose more without it.
3. Create Protocols and Policies In Case of a Power Outage
What will the employees do if they are working and a blackout happens? Where do they go? Whom should they call? What types of files should they back up regularly? What must they do once the power comes back?
Businesses may also encourage employees to be proactive during a blackout. For example, policies may allow them to use free Wi-Fi connections of public places like coffee shops or libraries.
Companies may expand their bring-your-own-device rules. Employees may register another personal device they can use for wireless connection.
For some, a blackout may be a temporary inconvenience. For others, like businesses, it may lead to severe repercussions. Preparation is key, but knowing what to include in the plan is necessary. Companies also need to share these ideas with their employees and make sure they understand.