ON Wednesday this week, we experienced an unanticipated power outage that affected the entire country. For the few hours that it took LUCELEC to respond to their internal faults and resupply their customers, what initially seemed like a major inconvenience was, upon reflection, an early warning sign. We probably take for granted the ability to switch on our lights, computers, and other appliances, but we should remain aware of the implications of service outages on our own business and productivity.
The lack of forewarning made this outage an annoyance, but one which we should learn from. From a business continuity perspective and with Productivity Awareness Week being celebrated next week, there is scope for improvement. Business contingency plans should therefore not immediately assume that grid power is available. This means that computers may not be available unless a source of back power is available, such as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), or even a backup generator, for larger enterprises.
A basic question is to be answered: in our rush to computerise, are we vulnerable to extended power outages? If a contingency plan includes a fallback that assumes no power, then it is probably a strong plan.
At the household level, it might be time to consider being more self-sufficient, especially as the price of solar panels affords some opportunity to have a local reliable source of power, at least during the day!
This story might seem to have started with a LUCELC power outage, but it has been in the works for some time now. Climate change should be causing us to rethink our plans, to reflect on how much we depend on fossil fuels, and also how much is at stake. We are on the front line of what’s coming to impact us, so we should be on the leading edge of preparing for change. Regardless of the cause of an outage, we should be more conscientious of our reliance on electricity and on utilities in general.
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About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design, and capacity building.