The number of power outages in the UK has more than doubled in the past year, potentially costing UK businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds according to Eaton’s latest Blackout Tracker report. In 2013 there were 505 reported outages, compared to 246 in the preceding twelve months. Over 2.2 million people were affected with the average outage lasting just over three hours. The consensus from the energy community is that the situation will get even more severe. According to the Royal Academy of Engineering, in a report produced for the Government late last year, the threat of blackouts will grow as the UK faces a diminishing capacity margin and insecurity of supply. The capacity margin, the difference between the amount of power that can be generated and peak demand, is likely to fall as older coal-fired power stations come out of service in 2015 and newer power stations scheduled to take their place are not coming on stream fast enough. In addition, the UK now relies heavily on gas to generate electricity, with 15 per cent of imports from Russia travelling through pipelines from the Ukraine region. Aside from the macro influences, according to the report from Eaton the cause of blackouts can range from explosions to sneezes. An explosion at Regeley Power Station in the West Midlands left 120,000 customers without electricity, while in Billericay a Range Rover driver blamed a sneeze for a crash in which he collided with a wooden electricity pole leaving 600 homes without power. Exact figures on how much power outages cost UK businesses are hard to come by but according to Dunn & Bradstreet, 59 per cent of Fortune 500 companies experienced a minimum of 1.6 hours downtime a week costing them $46 million annually. Even for smaller enterprises the benefits of investing in power back-up solutions to protect critical systems would seem to be a business imperative. The report advises that the most important thing a business can do is to develop a power protection plan. Click here for more information
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.