Most of you could not of fail to notice the two big power cuts in India this week, the second of which affected over 600 million people. I think for the most of us to picture such a situation is very difficult. For many in India, especially the rural parts, they are used to being without power, this was confirmed by the picture I saw of a row of shops, each with its own small generator outside. I also saw an article on ZDnet about the Indian outsource industry who were relatively unaffected by the power cuts and carried on as normal. My points from this incident are
- Power grids do go down. Many of us in Europe and USA have power grids which have not had a lot of investment for many years, investing in electricity infrastructure is not politicians favorite causes, so as they grow older they are more susceptible to incidents. It is the same in generating capacity which is suffering from anti nuclear (fallout from another incident) and the carbon issues of building new coal fired power stations. I think it is becoming increasingly likely that the western world will get wide scale power cuts.
- If you are prepared, by having a standby generator, then you can keep your business going. I think we also need to take into consideration the impact that the lack of power has beyond the immediate workplace, what effect will it have on our employees? Are they going to go home to no power? If they are is there a higher likelihood of them having an accident? The chances of house fires will be increased with the use of candles for light and there will be no road lights when people are travelling home. There is also the issue of staff who come into work on public transport, loss of power shuts down the train system and it makes buses overcrowded and trying to get into populated centers is difficult without traffic lights. I think within our plans we have to take into account the affect on our employees and the possibility of the power cut limiting the number of staff being able to come into work.
As with our bulletin last week we need to keep considering the human aspects of business continuity!