Nordic electricity prices reached an all-time high yesterday. If the current cold and dry spell continues, consumers could be left either with a black hole in their wallet, or be left sitting in the dark.
Most of the Nordic regions experienced a price of 11.32 kilowatt hours (kWh) at the busiest times of yesterday morning.
“Prices are record high, though they seem to have levelled out slightly for now” Siw Hauge, Communications Director at Nord Pool Spot – a multinational exchange for trading electric power – tells The Foreigner.
The exorbitant cost forced several larger, key Norwegian industries to cut production to save money, reports Aftenposten.
“It’s a complete catastrophe. The prices have gone completely bananas, we can’t go on like this,” said Celsa Armeringsstål’s union representative, Lars Nilsen.
They were not alone, with Norske Skog also feeling the pinch; running their factories at a minimum, according to their Communications Director, Tom Bratlie.
Blame it (not just) on the weather
Cold weather combined with abnormally little snow in the Norwegian mountains has meant low reservoir water-levels. But several other factors are also to blame.
“Power transfer between the Nordic regions has been limited, leading to a shortage. Many Swedish nuclear power plants are offline, in addition to reduced power production from plants in Denmark and Finland,” Siw Hauge says.
And according to Lyse's product manager for electrical energy, Anne-Margrethe Jensen, there are outages in power transfer cables between Norway and the Netherlands too.
"We're concerned for the entire system. Unless we get milder and wetter weather soon, prices may increase even more," she tells The Foreigner.
“We’ve had historically high prices before in 2002/2003 and 2006, but they normalised after just a short period of time.”
With prices set to rise in the near future, Jensen advises consumers who are concerned about their bills to be conscious about their energy consumption.
“People could take shorter showers and turn lights off in rooms they don't use, for instance.”