Power and Food Supply Disruptions Continuing… Here’s How to Get Ready
I’ll be honest – I’m not a big fan of interruptions. I suppose sometimes they can be a welcomed distraction. Such as when someone brings you a cold drink while you’re working in the backyard.
Or your adult child calls while you’re watching TV to say how much they appreciate you. Or when you get a social media alert while cleaning your house and learn your friend found her lost cat.
But generally speaking, interruptions are frustrating. We’ve certainly seen our share of disruptions in 2020. Such as power and food supply chain problems due to the pandemic.
Today I’m going to tell you about a great way to prepare for power and food supply disruptions in 2021. But first let’s look at why they occurred in 2020.
COVID-19 Changed Demand
Due to COVID-19, there has been a lack of staffing at some power plants and electrical utilities.
This has resulted in delays and the rescheduling of maintenance to the power grid. And this has had a negative impact on grid performance.
Because the virus has changed the patterns of businesses and our daily lives, the voltage at which the various electrical grids operate has been altered. Industrial demand for power has dropped. But consumer demand has increased.
Power outages lasting longer than normal due to workers getting sick is a big concern. Homeowners need to be ready to stay in their homes without power for longer periods of time.
Grid Projects Delayed
Power supply chain interruptions are likely to continue. Especially as the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase.
Projects that had been scheduled to strengthen the electrical grids have been put on hold. This has caused concerns, due to the current vulnerability of the grids.
According to Deloitte, a British multinational professional services network, power, utility and renewables leaders need to develop contingency plans for keeping critical personnel on site and operating safely. This will be especially important if their movements are restricted.
Some states, including New York, are developing such plans to sequester workers in the case of emergencies.
Hospital Equipment Shut Down
Officials at Henderson Building Solutions have voiced a concern about voltages. They say that grid voltage across the country has climbed.
The grid normally deals with voltage drop due to high amperage draw from workplaces and retail centers.
Because many of those types of businesses are closed or open fewer hours than normal, higher voltages are reaching places that are open. Including healthcare facilities.
At one hospital, mission-critical equipment shut down automatically when voltage spiked over the threshold.
This is the last thing healthcare facilities need when they are already overburdened caring for those who have been seriously sickened by the coronavirus.
Virus Slowed Food Deliveries
COVID-19 was also responsible for most of the food supply chain problems in 2020.
Last spring, many food proceSsing workers were infected by the virus. This led to plants being shut down. Including Tyson’s biggest pork plant. And large facilities operated by Smithfield Foods.
Of course, those shutdowns slowed production. And led to grocery store shelves going bare. And rationing being established.
More recently, a number of states issued shutdown orders to restaurants. Or insisted they limit capacity or offer only outdoor seating.
That makes people more dependent on grocery stores for food. Which puts an additional strain on the food supply chain.
Consumers Are Worried
Menu Matters recently conducted a survey. It revealed that nearly one-half of American consumers are concerned about the food supply chain.
Considering that 98 percent of meat processed in the U.S. goes through only 50 plants, that’s not surprising.
Nearly 75 percent of consumers are worried about catching the virus while grocery shopping.
And nearly 50 percent say they sometimes use either pickup or delivery services.
Weather Played Its Role
Of course, extreme weather also played its part in disrupting power and food supplies in 2020.
Among the weather events that caused the most problems – especially with major power outages – was a powerful tornado outbreak in western and middle Tennessee in March. More than 70,000 homes and businesses lost power.
Five months later, the Midwest Derecho raced across 770 miles from southeastern South Dakota to Ohio. This line of intense and swiftly moving windstorms flattened trees, sheds and crops.
It caused power outages for more than 1 million customers. And caused Marshalltown, Iowa Mayor Joel Greer to say this to the New York Times. “Everybody in town is without power except those with a generator.”
Hurricanes, Winter Storms Contributed
In August and September, Hurricanes Laura (Category 4) and Sally (Category 2) knocked out power for well over 1 million people.
Laura tied the record for strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana. Sally became the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since 2004.
Earlier this month, the Northeast was pounded with its first nor’easter of the winter season. More than a foot of wet snow and heavy winds resulted in 225,000 households losing power.
And in October and November, several “winter” storms slammed the West, the Plains and the Midwest. They included an ice storm that caused more than 300,000 power outages in Oklahoma.
4Patriots Food & Power Kits
Earlier I promised to provide you with a way to prepare for power and food supply disruptions in 2021.
At 4Patriots you can get everything you need – emergency power, food, and water – in one convenient location.