Dubai's 1.2 million residents could have lost in excess of Dh268.46 million in potential business due to the power blackout and disruption in telecom services had it continued for the full day.

Dubai blackout

Dubai's gross domestic product reached Dh97.98 billion last year, which averages Dh268.46 million per day.

This translates to a Dh11.18 million hourly loss in Dubai's gross domestic product.

Business activities came to a standstill yesterday from 9:47 am when telecom and utility – the two most essential services went off in Dubai leaving businessmen and residents in a limbo.

Mohammed Amin, regional manager, EMC Middle East, said, "Today's power outage in Dubai vividly highlights the need for organisations from every sector including telecommunications, banking, energy and government to have in place a viable business continuity strategy that is regularly tested for occasions such as these.

"We anticipate a significant increase in demand for business continuity solutions following outage as awareness for this business need has been considerably increased."

Power restoration began progressively from 12:00 onwards and full restoration did not take place until evening, in some places as late as 5pm.

This is the second time such an occurance took place in four years. In 2001, a failure in one of the power stations in Jebel Ali disrupted electricity and water supply in the city.

This time, according to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), "A sudden failure in one of the main transmission sub-station at Jebel Ali Power Station, caused the power failure to the city."

Observers say that it is time Dubai's private and public sectors stop taking Dubai's stable power supply for granted and invest in alternative emergency back up systems.

"While it is not possible and often not financially feasible to plan for all eventualities, one should plan for certain eventualities and power blackout is one such emergency which occurs even in the best of cities," said an power industry analyst.

Dubai's business and industrial sectors, specially those providing essential services, have to weigh the loss of revenues from such power failures against the cost of having alternative power supplies, said the analyst.

The world takes power supply for granted and when that fails it throws everyone out of gear in a major way, he observed.