Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘power outage

The Blackout In India

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To my friends in India, I hope you’re fairly weathering your blackout.

I was just reading through some BBC coverage which has reporters spread across northern India, including Utter Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, and West Bengal.

The report suggests Calcutta was not as badly affected as other regions, because it has a private electricity board, but that power went out across the rest of West Bengal state.

Thus far, coverage suggests the power breakdowns in India are mainly in the north, the east, and the northeast, and that about 600 million people have been in affected in over 20 Indian states.

To put that in perspective for those of us here in the west, that would be like the power going out across all of the U.S. and all of the United Kingdom, at once.

Yes, just imagine that.

Obviously, there will be lots of fingerpointing until an investigation can get to the bottom of this, but in the meantime it demonstrates once again how fragile infrastructure can be, in both emerging and advanced economies.

In the Northeast blackout of 2003 here in the U.S., some 55 million U.S and Canadian citizens were impacted and some left without power for up to 16 hours.

Though there was no major civil unrest during that particular blackout, one need simply just read the Wikipedia entry of that event to remember how many “systems” were impacted: everything from transportation to healthcare to water supply.

In India, telecommunications are being particularly hard hit in this outage, because so many people there depend on mobile phone service for their communications.  Even if the cell towers have backup generators, many folks in rural India have no alternative method of recharging their cell phones once that primary charge dissipates.

Also, business process outsourcing companies such as Wipro, Genpact, WNS and others have “kicked in business continuity plans” to ensure continuity of services to global clients. Thus far, The Hindu Business Line is reporting that the IT-BPO industry, which accounts for over 7% of Indian GDP, are running their operations at centers in the north and eastern India using backup generators running on diesel.

The Wall Street Journal India has an “IndiaRealTime” blog where you can follow the latest on the India power outage.


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My power went out this morning.

I had barely finished my first blog post and was starting to attack my email and, KABOOM, a transformer across the street popped like a Black Cat bottle rocket, only much louder.

So, I went off in search of wifi, first stopping at the nice AT&T store down the street to see if they could help me with my Blackberry Bold.

I’ve been having trouble with the battery since I had the unit replaced while in San Jose for SES.  Literally, I put the thing down wrong and the power shuts off.

I want to say thanks to the nice AT&T people on the 5th Street location in Austin.

The counter rep provided me a free battery swap, and reminded me I had 3 months left in my annual warranty if I needed to do another swap on the device itself (and I reminded her I had bought their insurance).

So, fingers crossed.

I then set out for Starbucks to grab a coffee and some free wifi for a bit, first putting in my power outage report on austinenergy.com

I have a feeling it could be hours because very few of us in the complex are at home during the day, and I’m concerned one report may not do the trick.  We’ll see.

Ah, the joys of working at home.

Speaking of outage, IBM customer Air New Zealand had an IT outage that began Friday morning and lasted for several hours, impacting the company’s check-in services, online booking system and call center, and affecting more than 10,000 passengers and leaving airports in disarray.

The CEO of Air New Zealand is blaming IBM, to whom ANZ had outsourced much of its computing operations, and according to a Good Morning Silicon Valley blog post over the weekend IBM “expressed its regrets” and said the likely cause was a failed oil pressure sensor on a backup generator during a scheduled maintenance session.

Unfortunately, the incident occurred during a very busy holiday travel time for New Zealand travellers.

TV New Zealand reported late Monday that IBM had issued a statement and explained that “IBM’s primary focus was to rapidly restore services to our clients, and in particular to Air New Zealand.”

The report went on to indicate that IBM had immediately engaged a team of 32 local IT professionals, supported by global colleagues and management, to restore impacted client systems and that services to most clients were restored within an hour of the outage.

If I know my colleagues, I’m sure they’re doing everything they can to make sure not only that the Air New Zealand operations are back in working order but also to ensure this type of outage doesn’t occur again.

Written by turbotodd

October 12, 2009 at 5:46 pm

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