Centrica: How to manage the risk of business energy disruption


Many UK businesses are unprepared for the rising threat of energy disruption – risking significant financial, operational and reputational risk, says Ian Hopkins, director for Centrica Business Solutions.

Lack of energy resilience poses threat

Latest research from Centrica Business Solutions shows that UK businesses without an energy resilience strategy could be risking 17 per cent of their revenue, equating to a £2.8m annual financial loss due to damages and lost opportunities.

Centrica’s Resilience Report includes a survey of more than 300 organisations across the UK and Ireland. Despite the fact that 88% of the senior decision-makers interviewed believed that energy resilience was important and that eight out of ten organisations had experienced at least one energy related failure in the last year, only 18% had a formal energy resilience strategy. 32% had no strategy whatsoever in place for dealing with energy disruption.

Think ahead

“The eye of the storm when business critical processes fail or the lights go out, is not the time to plan, it’s the time for urgent action,” said Hopkins. “Our report shows that many organisations are unrealistically optimistic when it comes to energy security and are failing to prepare for the increasingly likely event of energy upply disruption – putting their business, and potentially their staff, at risk.

“Increasing strains on the grid; rising threats from natural disasters, cybercrime and terrorism; and the risk of human error, all pose a greater threat than ever to energy reliability. Creating a comprehensive energy resilience plan should be an essential component of business risk strategy.”

Four key steps to building an energy resilience strategy

  1. Understand your building systems – the first step is to understand your building energy profile and complete a detailed engineering study of your site so that you can begin to understand where the vulnerabilities are.
  1. Assess the impact of varying durations of power loss – identify critical and non-critical systems to prioritise backup solutions and ensure business continuity. Some equipment can withstand short-term power loss, e.g. climate control systems, whereas the impact of any outage on other systems, such as IT, can have serious consequences. It is also important to factor in restart times for certain components, where delays in returning to optimum levels could hamper performance.
  1. Use data to inform design of strategy – the minimum requirement is to ensure that back-up power provision is sized to meet critical loads, and that business critical systems can be kept energised at all times to avoid operational downtime. Factor in uninterrupted power requirements and where automated backup generation is required to avoid any lapse in supply.
  1. Make the most of on-site generation and storage – consider the business case for reconfiguring existing on-site generators, such as CHP, to run in ‘island mode’ and operated independently of the grid to bolster energy resilience. The use of battery storage technologies, which can provide energy in less than a second, should also be considered.

Take the next steps in protecting your business. Download The Resiliency Report.

Related stories:

Centrica: Firms urgently need a resilience strategy

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