Posts Tagged ‘Power Outages’

Tornadoes Strike Ohio and Michigan

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Powerful and DeadlyTornadoes and thunderstorms struck the Midwestern states this weekend. In Ohio, the tornadoes killed at least seven people and destroyed homes and commercial buildings along a seven-mile trajectory path. The storm also knocked out emergency 911 dispatchers for a brief period. Thankfully, the storm missed the more heavily populated communities around Toledo. In Michigan, the storms caused cosmetic damage to a nuclear reactor, causing a safety protocol to initiate an automatic shutdown. More than 30,000 people were left without power, possibly due to the nuclear plant’s shutdown or to damaged power lines in the area.

One of the key takeaways of this weekend storm is that every natural disaster comes with a threat of power outages. It is uncertain how soon power will be restored to the affected area in Michigan, but consider solutions for your business that address this threat. Do you sell products on your website? Perhaps a hosted e-commerce solution can ensure that your online store stays up and running even when your office is down. Are there contingent service providers you can retain to perform certain of your functions remotely when your office power is knocked out? Assess the sensitivity of your revenues to these risks and plan accordingly.

Improving Power Recoveries After Major Storms

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Researchers have developed a computer model that may predict power failures prior to major storms, which insight may allow for better facilities planning for the benefit of consumers. Geography professors Seth Guikema of Johns Hopkins University and Steven Quiring of Texas A&M University examined data from five hurricanes that caused power losses, some for more than ten days: Dennis (1995), Danny (1997), Georges (1998), Ivan (2004) and Katrina (2005). They considered the locations of the power failures, the configurations of the power systems and the specific characteristics of the individual hurricanes, such as wind speeds. They believe that the data they have collected result in a model to improve the accuracy of predicted power failures, allowing utility companies to better utilize resources in advance of a storm with crews assigned to the areas likely to be affected. More accurate forecasts can reduce the millions of dollars utility companies pay in power restoration to the benefit of the hundreds of thousands of affected residents and businesses. With hurricane season just around the corner, small businesses located in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states should ask their utility providers for specific details of their contingency plans for major storms. Make sure that your electricity and gas providers are aware of this research, it could make a difference to your business.