Bright Idea

Fight the (no) power
Rolling power blackouts got you down? We’ve got some solutions to the problem

Rolling electricity blackouts in January left Newfoundland and Labrador businesses seeing red. Just how are you supposed to turn a profit when power reliability in this province is akin to something you’d experience in Haiti?

Since they can’t depend on government-owned Newfoundland Power to upgrade the province’s infrastructure sufficiently so blackouts are a thing of the past, here at Atlantic Business Magazine we suggest business owners be proactive in ensuring their shops aren’t left in the dark when the island encounters another stretch of foul weather. Here are three suggestions to help get you started.

POWER BY THE PEOPLE: Invest in treadmills so employees can run in-house turbines to generate electricity? The plan could be a work scheduling nightmare, as business owners would have to make sure they had enough employees to get work done and generate electricity. But the strategy could be a real win-win. Not only would it keep employees fit and mentally alert, it would eliminate the business’s power bill and any excess electricity could be sold back into the grid, generating another revenue stream.

OLD SCHOOL LIGHTING: A chicken in every pot? How about a large candle at every desk? If the power suddenly goes out, just have your employees switch their computers to battery power and get them to light their candles so they can carry on with their work day. The pros to this? No loss of productivity due to low lighting and you’d create a unique, cabin-like office ambience. The cons? Your fire insurance premiums will probably go through the roof.

IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM, JOIN ‘EM: Unwilling or unable to spend cash on in-house electricity generation or oldtime lighting options? Then why not institute rolling power blackouts on your own? Once or twice a week, without warning, just shut off the power. This will keep your employees on their toes and should make them more efficient and productive because they’ll never know when work will grind to a halt. Sure, you might lose some staff who get fed up with your draconian scheme, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

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