The massive power cut that affected parts of North America last week is likely to be used by some US companies as an excuse for lower earnings, say analysts.

“Anytime you can shift the blame for not doing as well as expected to something that was out of management’s control, there is always a temptation to do it,” Chuck Hill, director of research at Thomson First Call, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Like the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the war in Iraq and extreme or unusual weather conditions, the power outage will have indeed impacted some companies’ profits, but could be used by others as a convenient excuse.

Experts say food wholesalers, food retailers and telecommunication companies are likely to have suffered real losses because of the blackout.

Some retailers lost as much as three days of business because of the power cut and the following cleanup, but it is not yet clear to what extent this will hit earnings, reported Reuters.