In our previous blog, we examined some of the wider impacts of load-shedding that businesses should integrate into their thinking. Others include:
Impact on security. Most access control and building management systems rely on power to continue functioning so alternative power plans must include security and access control to avoid the business becoming a soft target during load-shedding.
Impact on society. One might argue that coping with load-shedding could create a kind of nation-building based on the feeling that “We’re all in this together”. More likely, particularly as the crisis drags on and on, is that existing social tensions will be exacerbated. When traffic is repeatedly disrupted thanks to non-working traffic lights, for example, incidents of road rage are likely to escalate, perhaps along with other forms of aggressive behaviour. Among these could be wildcat strikes and incidents of opportunistic looting, particularly when businesses start to shed jobs as they must surely do.
Once these inter-connecting risks are well understood and integrated in the business continuity plan, companies can put the appropriate backup power plans in place. These are likely to revolve around generators and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), both of which have their own requirements.
Here are some practical guidelines:
- Make sure that UPSs are correctly sized for the job they have to do and can cater for extended periods without power.
- The same holds true for generators. A cheap, household generator will not cope with frequent, prolonged use.
- Generators need to be tested and maintained regularly. If they are owned by landlords, companies will have less control—but they should not just assume the landlord is doing what needs to be done.
- Diesel stocks need to be actively managed. This means regularly checking on the levels in your tanks, and making sure that diesel is not stored for too long as it can become contaminated.
- Put a strategy in place to deal with possible regional diesel shortages in the event of a prolonged blackout of more than several days.
This blog series concludes with a look at what ContinuitySA is doing to mitigate the risks it and its clients face from load-shedding.