Hurricane Harvey’s Business Implications

Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Flickr Creative Commons

Hurricane Harvey is the first major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) to hit the US since 2005. The storm has claimed 10 lives, caused millions in property damage and has cut power to hundreds of businesses, with far-reaching economical affects.

As of yesterday, there were still 280,000 without power in the coastal and Houston areas of Texas, with utility companies saying it could be potentially be weeks before power is fully restored. (A power outage map can be found here and below.)

According to greentechmedia.com, in the south Gulf Coast, utility AEP is predicting that it could take until midnight Wednesday to bring power back to 95% of its Corpus Christi and Sinton area customers. The rest of its territory isn’t expected to come back on-line until Saturday. As for the coastal cities of Rockport, Port Aransas, Fulton, Woodsboro, Port Lavaca, Lamar and Bayside, where the storm’s damage was most severe, there is no timeline. AEP has 2,000 of its personnel working, and they have been joined by 3,000 more from other states.

CenterPoint Energy, which services the Houston area, uses a smart meter network that automatically keeps the utility up to date on which customers are currently without power. Though the smart meters take away the need for customers to report outages, they don’t help in restoration of power.

Businesses in the affected areas have begun staging resources outside of the threat zone. This way, workers can continue to deliver services as needed — to a certain extent, of course.

According to accuweather.com, small and medium-sized companies that suffer extensive or catastrophic damage will face many challenges recovering from a storm like Harvey. The weather site’s analytics show that more than half a million businesses are in the area that will be impacted by Harvey, a large number of which are in health care, education, hospitality and the food services industries.

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