February 29, 2024

Tishamarie online

Specialists in technology

Coronavirus: Will power supplies and broadband services cope?

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Energy companies and broadband providers are working to ensure services continue

We’ve heard the warnings that businesses are under pressure. But for some it’s about more than profit. Much of our critical infrastructure is in private hands and its operation needs to continue.

Will there be power cuts?

In electricity, firms like Scottish Power are offering reassurance that self-isolation is not going to lead to generation shortages.

It is true that home-working is more intense on the network than being in the office where lighting and heating are shared. But they point out that it’s not that much different to Christmas time when most of the population takes a couple of days off.

It’s also getting warmer – though it may not feel like it – so heating demand is falling.

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Operators are being advised to prevent people who have been exposed to risk working in the North Sea

The offshore industry has a particular challenge of operating in remote North Sea locations with hundreds of people living in close proximity. Keeping the supply of gas going will not be easy but operators have plans.

Some suspected cases have led to immediate isolation for the individual. And energy firms are working with the government to make sure there’s enough gas to meet demand.

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More people may end up working from home rather than going into the office

But what about pressure on the internet if we’re all logged on at home?

BT says that five years ago it could have been a problem but a huge investment in fibre means the majority of the country – even islands – is covered by super-fast broadband.

Most home working is low data; sending a few emails here and there.

And even if we all decide to ditch work to watch streaming services with our feet up, they have been tested to the max of late with companies like Amazon offering live streamed sport.


There are some concerns about the ability of individual businesses to let workers operate remotely. Smaller companies are less likely to have “virtual private networks” meaning staff would have limited access to the software they can use in the office.

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