Whether caused by severe weather, a natural disaster or faulty electrical wiring, how your farm, ranch or agribusiness bounces back from the disruptions caused by an unplanned power outage often depends on your emergency preparedness plan. Getting back to business is a combination of knowing your hazards and responding to keep your operation running.
Have a power outage plan in place
Planning is best done early and often, according to Nationwide Senior Risk Management Consultant Matt Ludwig. Your farm, ranch or agribusiness is different from a home in that there are critical operations that take top priority. Planning starts with laying out those priorities and building your power outage emergency response plan around them. It’s often a good idea to consult your local utility company who can assess your power needs and provide options to ensure your most critical needs are met in the event of an outage.
“The goal is to get back into revenue-generating business as quickly as possible with minimal disruption,” Ludwig said. “A lot of times, it comes down to having a plan in place that can mitigate downtime and determine the best mitigation and prevention steps to get back up and running.”
Have the right tools at your disposal
A well-constructed power outage plan should include having the right standby generator or backup power source. To protect against longer outages, consider a hard-wired backup generator versus relying only on a portable unit, since long-term use of the latter can sometimes damage wiring and cause the need for costly repairs.
Planning ahead for power disruptions may also mean deploying monitoring tools that can help identify outage causes and facilitate quick action. For example, monitoring systems from Nationwide partner PrevTech Innovations can help reduce the risk of fire — another common cause for power disruptions — by providing early warning and enabling you to respond quickly.
Attend to what’s needed most during an outage
At the start of an unplanned power outage, it’s important to get a feel for the expected length of the disruption and make sure anything “mission-critical” gets attention first.
“Usually around 20% of your operation should fit into that category,” said Nationwide Risk Management Consultant Pat O’Brien. “If you identify half of your operation as mission-critical, you probably need to scale back unless you have the risk appetite to provide emergency power to 50% of your operation. You can do it, but the cost mounts quickly. If you have a plan, you have a chance.”
Think about insurance for power outages
Mitigating the risk of unplanned power outages is best done working with your local Nationwide Farm Certified agent who can help apply contingency planning formulas to your operation’s backup power needs. The right insurance protection — like a business interruption policy — can also help transfer some of that risk.
“It’s all about balancing mitigation and insurance coverage,” Ludwig said. “The more work you put in planning on the front end, the more money you can save and the quicker you can get back up and running. Have that conversation with your local agent and make sure you understand your critical operations and adequate protection for your operation.”
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