How to deal with a power cut

Written by Muhammad Aslam, Peace Foundation Pakistan

Please describe a real-life problem your organisation has faced with power cuts and poor power supply.

Every organisation faces problems in their operations and these problems are multiplied with power cuts and poor supply of electricity. At the Peace Foundation Pakistan, we face 3 hours of power cuts during office hours on regular basis, which often leads to an increase in workload or delays in project implementation.

For example, the teams working in the field come to the office to write their reports. During the power cuts, the teams are unable to do their reporting, causing delays in them getting back to our operations. Another example is staff members requesting leave on short notice on the basis of them being unable to do their work without electricity. Power cuts also result in increased budget demands, for example to cover additional costs for fuel for the generators and solar plates.

How did you work on this problem and what changes have you made?

There are a few different actions we have taken to deal with power cuts. For example, sometimes we will know in advance the timing of the power cut, which enables us to plan our work. We focus on work requiring electricity when we have power, and then on other work when there is a power cut.

Other initiatives that we have taken are:

  • Allowing senior staff to work from home
  • All records and data are kept in hard copies
  • Keeping more than one battery for each lap top. Batteries are also charged when there is power, to save for when there is not
  • If procuring equipment, we ensure that they work at low charge
  • Installing fuses in every room in the office to save equipment during fluctuation of electricity
  • Installing solar plates, which gives us good support during the power cuts. However, they do not work in the cloudy season
  • A separate account for petty cash for petrol is now maintained – to ensure that there is always funds available for purchasing petrol for the generator, should there be an important piece of work that needs to be done during a power cut

What are your tips for someone facing the same or similar issues?

  • Keep money for alternate source of electricity in your budget
  • Keep equipment with same brand and batteries with extra batteries, exchange batteries
  • Store your work during power cut and ensure it is saved when power comes back on
  • Keep equipment that works at low voltage
  • Reduce load during power cuts.

Muhammad Aslam, Peace Foundation Pakistan

Muhammad Aslam has 10 years’ experience in project development, fundraising and partnership, working around expanding sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service coverage. He has a masters degree in Economics and a diploma in Culture and Sexuality from the university of Amsterdam and has been Director of Programs at Peace Foundation Pakistan for the last three years. He has skills in coordinating and building working relationships with donor agencies and emergency response sectors.

Peace Foundation Pakistan