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What would energy rationing in Norway look like?  

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 18 Aug, 2022 Updated Thu 18 Aug 2022 14:32 CEST
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This is what energy rationing in Norway would look like, and what it would take for it to be introduced. Pictured are powerlines.

The prospect of energy rationing in Norway has been a hot topic in the media recently. The Local looks into what rationing would mean for people living in Norway and what conditions need to occur for the authorities to ration power. 


The electricity price crisis in Norway shows no signs of receding, despite the government's efforts to remedy the situation. The level of filling of Norway's hydropower reservoirs in parts of the country remains at a record low, which adds to concerns. In east and south-west Norway, the filling rate hasn't been lower in the last 27 years.

In Norway, electricity production is dependent on hydropower. Therefore, there needs to be enough water in the reservoirs to have sufficient energy through the winter – or be able to import the energy it needs. 

Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland recently urged power producers to save water to improve the filling level in reservoirs in the affected regions. 

"The situation today is better than it was at the start of the summer," Aasland said on August 10, pointing out that, at the moment, according to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), the probability of rationing in the Spring is lower than it was in May.


Ann Myhrer Østenby of the Energy and Licensing Department at the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) agrees with Aasland. She told The Local that, despite the recent buzz surrounding the possibility of energy rationing in Norway, such a course of events is not very likely.

"It is not very likely to have energy rationing in Norway, as several events must unfold for that to be considered. 

"Examples of such events include (1) reduced import possibilities from other areas in Norway or from our neighbouring countries, (2) faults on major power plants either in Norway or countries close by, that makes it hard to produce energy, (3) low levels in our hydropower reservoirs, and (4) lack of snow in the mountains and/or cold weather," Myhrer Østenby said.

What would energy rationing in Norway look like?

Norway's national broadcaster NRK recently reported that the plans for rationing are made by the companies that own the electricity grid and – based on such plans – described the general steps that grid owners could take in the case of energy rationing:

Level 1

· Voluntary savings. People are asked to use less electricity (both private individuals and corporate entities).

· Switching off street lights and energy in cabins and lowering the temperature in buildings.

· Certain companies with special agreements may see their electricity cut.


Level 2

· Everyone is required to save electricity. Extreme prices are set in place for anyone who uses electricity above a certain level/quota – including companies.

· The rationing quota will likely vary from 30 to 70 percent of normal consumption.

Level 3

· Switching off power between 2 to 8 hours at a time. This will take place by different geographical zones being disconnected.

· Life and health will be prioritised. This means that hospitals, police, defence, and key infrastructure points for the internet and telephones will have electricity at all times.


"Power to regular households will be prioritised"

Myhrer Østenby told The Local that energy rationing could take several forms, as there are several different plans in place for such scenarios for different parts of the country.

"It would vary, as there are various plans for various parts of Norway. But in general, it will first and foremost affect businesses and industry.

"Power to regular households will be prioritised, and private individuals will only be affected if disconnecting industry is insufficient.

"It is also important to note that if we get energy rationing next Spring, it is only likely to last a few days or a maximum of a few weeks. And it will most likely only affect the businesses and industry in a limited part of the country," the NVE expert pointed out.

In line with existing plans, there wouldn't be a one-size-fits-all rationing package of measures.


"It will not be on a national level – it will be on a regional or local level. In Southern Norway, there is less energy available, and this is the area where energy rationing can become relevant. 

"There is a lot of energy available in Northern Norway and in the north-west (Midt-Norge), and these areas will not have energy rationing," Myhrer Østenby clarified.

The effects of rationing on regular people living in Norway

While energy rationing scenarios differ locally, Norwegian regulations prioritise households in rationing scenarios.

"(The effects) will depend on the actual situation and what areas are affected, as local plans vary. This is because the production and use of energy vary, and the plans must be adapted to the local circumstances.  

"But the Norwegian energy rationing regulation (kraftrasjoneringsforskriften) sets clear guidelines for prioritised areas, and households will be prioritised," she concluded.



The Local 2022/08/18 14:32

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