What happens if society becomes reliant on one source provider?

  • Opinion
  • August 15, 2017
  • Paul Keane
What happens if society becomes reliant on one source provider?

The advent of the electric car which seems just around the corner as a real vehicle and affordable option, has raised questions as to the ultimate impact of petrol consumption and the benefits of "electric" over the current petrol or diesel options. It also must impact on the potential consumption of electricity and refill stations etc as an acceptable form of filling vehicles. If one was in the Vehicle business, there must already be options in place for quitting existing stock and concentrating on the new electric version. Or are we advancing our thinking too far? Certainly changes in the motor vehicle business are likely and those changes will soon impact across many industries. Electricity company must have this form of provision well and truly planned for, with sales growth likely to increase significantly in years to come and will impact on the share price of the provider, probably positively.

However, an overnight impact is unlikely and I suspect that it will be 10 years before the impact of the electric car is really likely. Given that we are a nation of vehicle owners, the disposal of existing as a result will probably be a real problem. I was however, drawn to compare the arrival of the electric car with the decline in the use of cash as a form of transaction. It seems that less people are using cash and more are inclined because of convenience to use a credit card or even their I Phone app to transact, particularly where food and beverage service is available. In fact it is difficult in today environment to even contemplate where we actually need to use cash as a form of transaction. It really seems apparent that sooner than later we may well be a cashless society.

So what happens when the power goes off? How do we transact?

Recently we were involved in giving a presentation to a client conference in Christchurch. The conference was on a Monday and we were completing our presentation on the previous Friday when all the power in the street went out for the whole day plus. The impact was very significant. We simply couldn't work, and all our staff was sent home. No office power, no heating, no garage door access, no security provision, no computers. The impact on our daily business due to the lack of electricity is severe.

The future therefore poses a number of problems both for a cashless society and electric cars.

Business from financial institutions to retailers, to public transport relies heavily on electricity to operate. Reliance on just one form of provision to allow business to operate is a risk that most of us will not want to contemplate. However, the risk is real in a future where everything relies on one form of supply to operate! Keeping the petrol car and a form of alternative means of operating may not seem such a bad idea after all.

 Paul Keane is a registered property professional and has vast experience in New Zealand’s commercial property industries. He provides retail and property consultancy including development management to many New Zealand property owners, developers and city councils. This post originally appeared on RCG's blog.

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