Protecting Your Bottom Line during a Blackout

One frustrating aspect of weather-related power disruptions is that you have no idea how long they will last. The power might be out for 20 minutes or 20 hours – or even longer. That’s why it’s important to answer some key questions about what to do in the event of an extended blackout before the hot weather arrives:

  • What services – if any – can you provide to clients without power?
  • How long does the power need to be out before you decide to close the practice for the day?
  • How will you communicate limited services or a closure to clients with an appointment?
  • What will happen to the animals in your care? How will you maintain their health and welfare?

It is also important to consider and plan for the financial disruption that can be caused by an extended blackout. One area to consider is employee wages. If an employee is at work, they must be paid, even during a power outage. Wage laws and guidelines for natural disasters can vary from state to state,1 so it is important to familiarize yourself with your state’s laws.

Extended power outages can also mean a significant disruption for your business, including lost revenue. It’s important to track and document your practice’s expenses during the outage as well as how much your business loses as a result of the power outage.

A Business Owner’s Package – or general liability insurance – through AVMA PLIT includes business interruption coverage that can help cover typical expenses, including:

  • Normal payroll expenses
  • Overtime wages
  • The cost of transferring operations to another site, including rent
  • The cost of outside services
  • Lease payments on premises and equipment
  • Lost income as a result of a business interruption
  • Extended business income after your property is restored

Preparing for Energy Surges and Blackouts

Heatwaves can affect energy production, leading to less efficient power output and more frequent blackouts and power surges. That’s why tens of thousands of businesses go without power during the hottest days of the year. Outlining procedures for your practice in the event of a power disruption will put you one step ahead, which is why it is important to establish a formal business continuity plan.

Below are some additional tips for preparing weather-related disruptions to the power grid:

  • Consider purchasing a backup generator that is rated to withstand the demands of a veterinary practice.
  • During a power outage, keep all windows and doors closed to prevent cool air from escaping. Whenever possible, close window coverings to keep interior spaces cooler.
  • Make sure all outlets within the practice are GFCI protected to ensure no electrical fires are started as a result of a power surge. This step also will protect equipment that is plugged in at the time of a power surge.
  • As an extra precaution, turn off and disconnect equipment to prevent surges from damaging equipment plugged in to outlets.
  • Power outages can affect your wi-fi connection – and all the programs or devices that rely on that connection. Look for devices that do not rely on a direct power source to maintain a wi-fi connection so you can maintain some level of productivity until power is restored.