Now that almost everyone is back on the grid, NStar recently announced that it has no intention of reimbursing customers for any financial losses they may have suffered during the power outage this past week. And for some of those customers, I would imagine that the loss is a bit more than pocket change, to put it mildly. Imagine all of the restaurants that had to throw out all of their meat, seafood, produce, and dairy products. And that is on top of the loss they suffered for having to let customers leave without paying. Plus a couple of days where those businesses made no money. And so the wait staff and bartenders made no tips. It is not as bad as it could have been, but it was certainly bad enough. And that is why I will continue to harp on this issue of planning for events like this.
Sure, maybe you don’t want to spend the money on something like a backup generator, or maybe you don’t have the space for one. But that isn’t your only option. What if you already had a plan in place for having all of the perishable food moved out of the facility to a temporary one, like a refrigerated truck or trailer? Or had plans to bring in ice or dry ice to keep things cool? What if all you had to do was make a couple of phone calls and your problem would be solved? What if you had UPS (uninterruptible power supply, not the shipping company) units for your cash registers? Yes, it is an investment, but how much money did you lose over this past week? I would be willing to bet for some places it was easily in the thousands or tens of thousands. The sort of prior planning I am talking about is a lot cheaper than that. So yeah, have some ideas about what you want to do – at least some sort of bare bones emergency plan – and make sure that everyone has some idea what those plans are, or at the absolute minimum managers and shift leaders know the plans. No one ever thinks that anything bad will ever happen to them. But they still buy insurance.