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Summer Blackouts Hit Small Biz

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The AP has a short article out acknowledging that a string of power outages across the country may have a disproportionate impact on small businesses. In Queens in New York City, for example, "...city officials have estimated at least 750 businesses suffered losses during the blackout that, all told, could reach into the millions of dollars," the AP reports. 'We lost a lot of product,' Benny Marino said of the seafood spoiling at his Marino & Sons fish Market."

(To read Con Ed's letter to customers, click here.)

The problem is probably even worse in St. Louis, Missouri, the wire service reports. Some 500,000 customers of the utility Ameren Corp. were affected by blackouts at one point, and more than 200,000 are still without service. The process has been slowed by the tragic death of a repairman who was electrocuted in the field this morning, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch (here's the link.)

California is still another potential trouble spot, the Los Angeles Times reports:

"On Monday, Southern California was struck with a new round of power outages as demand for electricity stretched the state's supply and the aging system of local lines and transformers continued to fail in the face of a record heat wave.

"The demand for electricity was so great that California's power regulators asked some businesses to cut back their power usage. The state narrowly avoid[ed] rolling blackouts as temperatures moderated slightly — a cooling trend expected to continue today. Officials were more immediately concerned about the nearly 1,000 transformers atop power poles and in underground vaults that have been overwhelmed in recent days, leaving thousands without electricity." (Here's the link to that article.)

So I suppose if your business is affected by any of these power outages, then you are probably not reading this online. But if you are—or know of a business owner who is affected—what is the impact, in dollar terms, of a major power outage? How is your business coping with an outage? Are you voluntarily cutting back service? And what tips and strategies do you have for a company that finds itself enduring a multi-day blackout?

Last updated: Jul 25, 2006




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