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Norway prepares a plan for power rationing

Norway may be forced to ration electricity in the spring due to the war in Ukraine and a lack of water in the Norwegian reservoirs. Illustration: Mats Moen Mareliussen, Pixabay

If there is a power shortage in Norway, street lights and power to mountain cabins will be the first to be switched off, and heating to public buildings will be reduced.

After that, energy companies can raise electricity prices for customers who use more than a certain amount of power or switch off the power for a few hours a day. This is the plan drawn up by Norwegian energy companies, NRK wrote.

The energy companies were forced to dust off the old rationing plans due to the war in Ukraine and the low water levels in Norway’s reservoirs, according to NRK.

The rationing plans consist of three stages:

  1. Voluntary savings, which means that individuals and companies are asked to use less power. Power to street lights and mountain cabins will be cut off and the temperature in public buildings will be lowered. Some companies with special agreements may lose power.

  2. Everyone is required to save power, and everyone who uses power above a certain quota has to pay extremely high rates. This also applies to companies. The rationing quota will fluctuate between 30 and 70 percent of normal consumption.

  3. Power is cut for two to eight hours at a time in different geographical areas.

Lives and healthcare are prioritized, which means that hospitals, police, military, and internet and telephone operators always have power.

No risk of rationing before spring

Norway has become part of the European energy crisis due to new power cables from southern Norway to Great Britain and the EU. The purpose of the cables is for companies to import and sell power to each other, but Norway cannot expect any help from Germany this winter, according to NRK.

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy decides whether rationing is to be introduced on the advice of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). A spokeswoman from NVE urges calm. She says that there is only a 20 percent chance of rationing, and that it will not be introduced before April or May. The risk of rationing will be greatest in southern Norway.

The plans are met with concern by the National Federation of House Owners in Norway (Huseierne), who point out that the politicians themselves have suggested that homes should be heated with electricity and that it is difficult for private households to quickly switch to a different energy source.

A private homeowner also expresses concern about damage to his mountain cabin with running water if the power is cut off for an extended period.

Power consumers in Norway are currently paying record high electricity prices because there is a lack of water in the Norwegian reservoirs. At Norway’s largest power store, the Ulla-Førre hydropower complex, the water level is the lowest for the season in 20 years. Therefore, water is saved to ensure enough water for the winter and avoid even higher prices in the future.