Here comes the sun

Monday, August 6th, 2012

 

Here comes the sun

In 1989, 6 million people in Quebec were without power for 9 hours. In 1960 widespread radio disruptions occurred. In 1859 The Aurora Borealis was seen as far south as the Caribbean and telegraph operators received shocks through induced currents. These events were attributed to solar storms. The storm is a result of periodic solar activity that peaks roughly every 11 years sending solar flares earthbound with very powerful consequences.

Scientists are warning us to get ready for the latest peak in sunspot activity which could affect satellites, GPS,   telecommunications, radio signals and power grids. A repeat of the magnitude of activity in 1859 would  have devastating effects now including power outages lasting for weeks for some people.

Governments, power and telecommunication companies routinely consider these risks but many other organisations are blissfully unaware of the potential issues. Here are some questions you might ask of yourselves about your power supply  and of course that of  your critical suppliers.

  • If you were without power for a prolonged period do you have a plan B? if so what is it?
  • Do you have back up generation?
  • How long are your back up generators capable of running at full capacity on a full tank of fuel?
  • Can the generators supply all your power needs?
  • Has any major equipment been installed since the generators  were installed? if so, was the installed generation reassessed and  confirmed as adequate?
  • When were the generators last tested?
  • Do you have arrangements in place for fuel replenishment?

And that’s just the power issues.

As for back up telecommunications – those considering expeditious use of  carrier pigeons will be disappointed to learn that they too are affected by this phenomenon as they may well get lost. They use the earth’s magnetic field for navigation which is also distorted.

If you need any light shedding on your external supply chain risks or would like to find out more about how we can help you please call us on 01744 20698 or email r.gambell@brianfarrington.com