Note: This is the second installment of a reflection on last year’s ice storm that devastated northern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and southern Maine. For the first installment, please refer to this link.
While many employees of a firm see a snowy day or a loss of power such as the loss of power due to the 2008 ice storm as an unexpected and welcomed day off, it is a burden on the company at large. It means lost revenue, customers without service, and still the same expenses: Those very same employees celebrating the day off are still expected to get paid their salaries. This is why it is so important to have a plan both written and ready to launch to minimize disaster-related downtime. Customers, like those waiting for power in New Hampshire last year, won’t “just understand” that a business they are relying on doesn’t have their act together in the face of disaster.
Just as important if not moreso is the lesson unfortunately learned by Unitil. The utilities company suffered irreversible reputational damage as a result to the slow response to the 2008 ice storm disaster. Unitil is now either a punch line or a swear word in those areas of New Hampshire and Massachusetts that lost power for so long last year. The business will now have to continue to dig themselves out of a hole to survive. There is no doubt that the state of New Hampshire will be investigating Unitil’s past BCP to find out what went wrong last year, as well as its new one to determine whether there will be provisions in place to prevent a repeat of this week last year.
GraVoc Associates, Inc. is a full-service technology consulting firm located just outside of Boston in Peabody, MA. GraVoc has served Greater Boston, New England, and beyond for over fifteen years in the fields of information systems, information security, and professional services. GraVoc’s disaster recovery/business continuity consulting has served, among other clients, many clients in the highly-regulated financial services industry, which provides a high standard for business continuity compliance. For more information, please visit the GraVoc website at www.GraVoc.com.