THE UK has not experienced major organised blackouts since the 1970s, however, with just nine days’ worth of gas storage, the UK has some of the lowest gas capacity in Europe, meaning businesses could be vulnerable to experiencing blackouts this winter.
With this in mind, the experts at Utility Bidder have shared 7 steps all businesses should follow in the event of a blackout.
1 – Call your utility provider and report the power outage, or call 999 in cases of immediate danger.
During a blackout your utility company needs to know when and where it occurs, so make sure to call your utility’s designated line as soon as possible to report the blackout and provide any information that may help. You can also call 105 free to report issues or get information about blackouts in your local area. Make sure to only call 999 if you or others are in immediate danger.
2 – Turn off and disconnect equipment which may be damaged by temporary power surges.
When power returns after a blackout, electrical surges may cause circuits to fry which can result in damaged equipment and create a fire risk. Make sure to turn off and completely disconnect all your business’ large appliances, assembly lines and other equipment, including laptops and computers, to keep employees and customers safe and reduce any potential damage to your equipment.
3 – Try not to use candles or lanterns for emergency lighting.
When the power goes out, the first instinct is to light candles and lanterns for easy illumination, however, candles and lanterns are fire hazards and can be major causes of death and damage in power outages. Opting for battery-powered torches will reduce this risk, and means you don’t have to worry about burning candles.
4 – Leave one light turned on so you know when the power comes back on.
Blackouts can cost businesses thousands of pounds an hour in lost revenue and productivity. Ensure all unnecessary appliances are switched off but leave one light on so that you are aware of when electricity has returned and you can get started on responding to the blackout.
5 – Conserve your phone’s battery.
During a blackout, your business’s Wi-Fi will cut out meaning your phone will be your connection to the outside world. Reduce your screen’s brightness, activate low power mode and turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to conserve your phone’s battery power to ensure you have a way to contact others, including building management, local authorities and supervisors for any status updates.
6 – Clear pathways to prevent falls.
During a blackout, all lights will go out except the emergency lighting system. Slips and trips are a major hazard in low light, with it being more difficult to see obstructions and obstacles. Make sure pedestrian routes are clear and check your emergency lighting regularly for any faults to prevent tripping and falling.
7 – Ensure employees have work to do offline.
During a blackout, you may need to send your employees home and they may be concerned about the lack of work they will now be able to complete. Ensuring you are able to provide work for your employees that they can do offline will improve business productivity and also the well-being of your employees.
James Longley, Managing Director at Utility Bidder has commented on the importance of UK businesses being prepared for a blackout:
“The UK is currently preparing to face what could be an unprecedented winter, with potential electricity blackouts that would directly impact business functions. Whilst blackouts are currently looking unlikely – unlikely does not equal impossible. With businesses’ reliance on electricity, preparing for potential blackouts is vital to protect both the interests of the business and your employees.
“Here at Utility Bidder, we wanted to share some easy steps businesses can follow if they do suffer an electricity blackout this winter to prevent seeing their business and employees dramatically affected.
“Simple tips such as turning off your electronic equipment, conserving your phone battery and ensuring employees have work to do offline will enable businesses to continue to run smoothly, reduce employee stress and minimise any potential business losses.”