According to the latest Blackout Tracker report from power management company Eaton, the number of power outages in the UK rose dramatically last year, resulting in widespread productivity losses.
The report revealed that there were 640 outages in 2015, an increase on the 537 incidents recorded in 2014. The report also found that a total of 2,564,827 people were affected by the outages, which lasted for an average of 50 minutes.
Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and Lead Author of the report said, “the UK is facing an electricity supply crisis. However with little or no focus on reducing electricity demand, the retirement of the majority of the country’s ageing nuclear fleet, recent proposals to phase out coal-fired power by 2025 and the cut in renewable energy subsidies, the UK is on course to produce even less electricity than it does at the moment.”
In terms of geographic regions, the South East of England suffered the most blackouts, with 124 incidents in 2015. The South West of England endured the second highest number of blackouts (98), while the North West of England saw the lights go out 75 times across the year.
Steve Spicer, IT Segment Lead, UK said, “businesses are being hugely inconvenienced by an unreliable power supply. Outages lead to downtime, and that costs money. For example, on average, a medium sized data centre will experience over three downtime events each year, with the average power cut lasting over three and half hours.”
The Eaton report also contains advice on what companies can do to lessen the impact of unplanned outages. These include developing an adequate power protection plan and using a range of equipment including uninterruptible power supplies. Companies can also use Eaton’s Blackout and Power Outage Tracker, an online tool that enables users to discover how vulnerable the power grid in their area is to outages. Eaton’s online tracker can be found at www.eaton.com/blackouttracker
Steve added, “Eaton has been using the Blackout Tracker tool to report on power outages for eight years, and the number of incidents has risen steadily over time. That upward trend suggests this is not a problem that is going to go away any time soon and both reports indicate that unreliable power supply could have a huge impact on British businesses over the medium-term. Company owners need to ensure that continuity can be maintained when these outages do occur.”