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Resiliency Strategies to Weather The Storm

During the week of February 15, ice, snow and record-breaking cold left millions across Texas without electricity, heat or water, and with homes damaged or destroyed.

Roughly 4 million homes and up to 15 million people had no power for several days, and 13 million homes had no water or poor water quality. The Texas blackouts crippled the retail sector up and down the supply chain.

Walmart closed 415 stores and Sam’s Clubs developed an interactive map to help Texas shoppers determine if their neighborhood location was open or not. Target closed 20 stores across Texas, and Amazon, FedEx and UPS delivery services saw drastic delays. Grocery store chain Kroger’s experienced equipment malfunctions and found backup generators weren’t working in many locations due to the rolling blackouts. Smaller retailers and local chains without national resources and already suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, were especially impacted by the prolonged energy disruption.

Despite the mammoth disruption, Texas was dangerously close to a much worse scenario. As it turns out, the Texas power grid was just shy of total collapse during the power failures the week of February 15. Retailers in Texas and across the country should ask themselves: how would we respond if the power grid suffered a catastrophic blackout? Would our generators hold up, and if so, for how long? A total grid failure could have lasted for weeks. Food would begin to spoil; employees may not be able to get to work; and the bottom line would take a severe hit.

Energy disruptions like what happened in Texas are inevitable and likely going to increase in frequency as the effects of climate change continue to stress our electricity grids and the retail sector needs to ensure that they are up to the challenge. Planning for these energy disruptions by implementing resiliency measures can help retailers avoid financial hardships. Investing in emergency preparedness and resilient energy technologies such as the following can help retailers weather future storms:

  • Emergency Preparedness and Energy Assurance Planning. Quantify your risk from energy emergencies and develop a preparedness plan that ensures a quick response to and smooth recovery from major and minor energy disruptions. Identify resiliency measures that will protect your employees and physical assets from future energy disruptions.
  • Resilient Energy Technologies. Right-size your generation equipment to enable your business to safely continue operations through small and prolonged energy disruptions. Ensure your equipment is operational and environmentally friendly.
  • Energy Efficiency. Reducing overall energy consumption not only saves money on monthly utility bills, it reduces the amount of fuel required for generators to operate.

APTIM’s Energy and Resiliency team brings unparalleled expertise in identifying and implementing resiliency strategies for utility, commercial, and government clients. Our subject matter experts work with clients to quantify the risks posed to businesses in the face of a changing climate, develop tailored resiliency strategies that mitigate those risks and can help implement resilient energy technologies that mitigate those risks. Reach out today for more details on our resilient energy services.

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