BC 020103 Loss of Utilities and Services

The BCP Project Team will need to examine each potential disaster or emergency situation. The focus here should be on the level of business disruption likely from each loss of utilities or pubic services. Potential emergencies include business disruption caused by the loss of one or more of the following utilities or services.

All organisations depend on electrical power to continue normal operations. Without power the organisation's computers, lights, telephones and other communication medium will not be operational and the impact on normal business operations can be devastating. All organisations should be prepared for a possible electrical power failure as the impact can be so severe. Data can be lost, customers can be lost and there can be a serious impact on revenue. Pre-planning is essential as a regional outage can cause a shortage of back up electrical generators. Consideration should be given to installing UPS systems to avoid brownouts.

The loss of gas supply can be extremely serious where the business relies on gas to fuel either its production processes or provide heating within its premises. The impact that a loss of gas supply can have on the production process can result in the whole process shutting down. The impact on the organisation will also be particularly acute where the loss of gas-fired heating could render the premises unusable during periods of low external temperatures.

The loss of the water supply is likely to close down a business premises until the supply is restored. Where the water is used in the production process this is particularly serious. The loss of water supply is also a health and safety issue as minimum sanitary needs cannot be met. This is often caused through a fault in a water supply route or as a result of a particularly severe drought.

For most countries in the world, a petroleum shortage can occur at any time. This has a serious impact on businesses as rationing is likely to be imposed immediately affecting transportation and the normal operations of diesel or petrol fuelled machinery. For example, this type of shortage can be caused by a sudden reduction in production output imposed by one of the OPEC members. It could also be caused through the short-term failure of a refinery, thereby affecting output of particular grades of fuel.

Most businesses are fully dependent upon their telecommunications services to operate their normal business processes and to enable their networks to function. A disruption to the telecommunications services can result in a business losing revenue and customers. The use of cell-based telephones can help to alleviate this but the main reliance is likely to be on the land based lines.

The loss of drainage or waste removal is likely to cause a serious sanitation and health issue for most businesses. This is likely to impact on the business through the possible loss of its workforce during the period where drainage services are not available. This, in turn, will have an immediate impact on revenue. A large number of businesses also rely on waste removal for its production processes and this will be impacted also.

Each of the above scenarios needs to be developed and examined in detail and an analysis prepared of the consequences of each potential scenario. Each scenario should also be assessed for possibility of occurrence (probability rating) and possible impact (impact rating).

 

PROBABILITY RATING

IMPACT RATING

SCORE

LEVEL

SCORE

LEVEL

1

VERY HIGH

1

TERMINAL

2

HIGH

2

DEVASTATING

3

MEDIUM

3

CRITICAL

4

LOW

4

CONTROLLABLE

5

VERY LOW

5

IRRITATING

 

(To complete the relevant section of the Business Continuity Plan, click here)

 

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This information is derived from the BCP Generator
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