EU governments warn of power blackouts to save electricity amid energy crisis

2022-12-11 13:35:16
EU governments warn of power blackouts to save electricity amid energy crisis

Life in some European cities may soon look like this: Staggered electricity outages to save energy. Temporary cuts in mobile phone and internet service. Schools closed for a lack of lighting and heat. Even traffic lights could briefly be powered down.

Europe has spent months preparing for a winter without Russian gas, stockpiling fuel and pushing conservation measures in hopes of maintaining enough energy to keep power grids running.

But as an unseasonable streak of mild weather gives way to freezing temperatures, governments are starting to brace people for the possibility of controlled power cuts in the event that energy supplies are stretched — with a wide-ranging impact on daily life.

The French government last week started instructing officials around the country to plan for potential rolling electricity outages as soon as next month.

Britain’s National Grid operator has warned households of possible blackouts from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. if gas used to produce electricity runs short.

Electric car owners in Finland are being advised not to heat their plugged-in vehicles on freezing mornings to avoid straining the grid.

Europe has made a concerted effort since Russia’s war with Ukraine in February to avoid a worst-case situation by topping up natural gas reserves and even restarting coal-fired power plants to generate electricity.

A near-total embargo on Russian oil begins Monday, one of many actions the bloc has taken to deny the Kremlin revenue from fossil fuel sales and limit its ability to wage war in Ukraine.

Europe is now facing its first major cold snap, with an Arctic air blast from Greenland expected to send temperatures plunging in coming days. Governments have already been dipping into some of the emergency gas reserves, driving European natural gas prices back up to their highest levels in six weeks.

New York Times


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