Major power cuts across England, who is accountable?

Power Control
10 Aug 2019

On Friday 9th August the UK power grid failed. Nationwide power cuts were reported, affecting over one million people.

The immediate aftermath saw hours of news coverage and over 13k Tweets all reporting on the direct disruption, with endless references to delayed/cancelled train services, traffic congestion and of course a fair share of political antagonising. When caught up in the moment it is difficult to consider the other repercussions of such widespread downtime but ironically these will have the longest lasting effect.

Businesses across the country were grounded to a halt but at what cost? Those without any backup power provision have been left with catastrophic losses amounting to substantial financial losses in lost data and downtime. Can anyone be held accountable for these forfeitures? The National Grid reported that the power failure had been caused by “issues” from two generators, which suggests that there are some fragilities that need addressing – ASAP.

A disruption of this scale cannot be swept under the carpet, it is not reasonable for organisations to be expected to absorb the losses and manage the practical consequences of an outage of this scale because of the questionable state of the National Grid infrastructure. With electricity consumption increasing due to the rise of smart devices and electric vehicles to name a few, it is entirely possible events such as this will not be one-offs. As a consequence, we implore organisations to seriously review their power protection provision.

Firstly, is anything in place? If not why not? Installing a basic Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system on IT equipment will give a business enough time to safely shutdown and save any critical data. More sophisticated UPS solutions will enable infrastructures to operate until the power can be restored.

If a backup power supply is already in place, is it fit for purpose? Is it still effective? When was the provision last serviced? We predict that hundreds of businesses were let down because their backup failed and the most common reason for this will be the user overlooking the need for regular maintenance.

Our message is simple, business owners need to take control of their power infrastructures. They must have a backup power strategy in place to safeguard their business revenue and a UPS solution is the most practical place to start.

Don’t wait for the dark.

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