Freezing weather threatens power supplies in Southeastern Europe

The chill that has gripped southeastern Europe has left some Balkan countries struggling to ensure uninterrupted power supplies.

Bulgaria, where temperatures fell to as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit), declined emergency requests for power from Greece and Turkey amid heavy snowfall, Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said Tuesday in the capital Sofia. The country was itself turned down by Romania two days ago and Greece said it would stop electricity exports to Bulgaria from noon on Wednesday.

“We’re receiving information that neighboring countries are limiting electricity exports to neighbors,” Petkova said. “This is a system where we all operate in parallel and if we don’t receive scheduled imports from neighboring countries we’ll have to analyze the situation and may have to stop exports.”

From Croatia to Turkey, southeastern Europe has been hit by below-average temperatures that will persist throughout the week, according to MDA Weather Services. The power shortage in the region was further exacerbated by an outage at Romania’s Cernavoda-1 nuclear reactor, which had to be disconnected on Jan. 6 after blizzard damaged a high-voltage power line.

Prices around Europe have risen amid the cold, with the French contract for next week jumping as much as 99 percent on Tuesday and Slovak day-ahead prices rising to the highest since December 2008, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.

Greek Energy Minister George Stathakis called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to coordinate uninterrupted electricity and gas supply to consumers because of extreme conditions in the country, the Athens-based Ministry of Environment and Energy said in an e-mailed statement. The ministry urged consumers to avoid unnecessary consumption of power and gas during the peak hours from 6 p.m. to midnight, it said.

Source: Bloomberg

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