Swedes must prepare for unprecedented power cuts, government says
The Swedish government urged citizens to consume less electricity as Nordic power costs have increased.
Sweden’s government warned households and companies on Wednesday to prepare for power cuts this winter amid nuclear reactor outages, cold weather, and a shortfall of energy in Europe after Russia's gas exports were reduced as a result of the war in Ukraine.
“The risk of outages is real and Swedes must prepare themselves for this,” Minister for Civilian Defense Carl-Oskar Bohlin told a news conference. “Sweden has never been in this situation before,” he said.
The Swedish government earlier this month urged citizens to consume less electricity as Nordic power costs have increased this year, amid concerns that reductions in Russian gas deliveries to Europe may cause shortages.
The minister said that emergency plans must take into account the possibility of short as well as longer outages, where power does not return as planned. “Those who under normal circumstances can take care of themselves, must also be able to do so in a crisis such as a power outage,” Bohlin said.
Official recommendations include keeping a battery-driven radio, flashlights, bottled water, and food that is simple to prepare.
Households should designate a space in which the family can stay in case of an outage in order to sustain heat over time, the minister advised. “It’s better to be prepared than not. This is not an attempt at being alarmist,” Bohlin said.
One of several outages affecting the Nordic power supply, Swedish utility Vattenfall said on December 2 that it had postponed the reopening of its Ringhals 4 nuclear plant to Feb. 23.
The Swedish government said last week that it had ordered the country's energy regulator and the operator of the national electricity system to step up their efforts to improve both the short- and long-term security of supplies.
Sweden experiencing poverty problem
Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that Sweden was starting to experience a poverty problem in light of the current energy crisis and soaring food prices sweeping across the EU.
The matter is of concern because Sweden ranks among the most generous in terms of public welfare and its abundant green energy sources which should, in theory, render the country more resilient to economic shocks.
According to Johan Rindevall, the executive of Matmissionen, a chain of supermarkets in Sweden that sells donated food and products by producers and retailers, Sweden is really experiencing a poverty problem, and though not many talk about it, "it’s absolutely got worse this year," he says.
The company owns eight stores across the country dedicated to helping the poorest by selling them food and products at low prices.
It also aims to limit food waste and train new workers in the job market.