Cold weather sends electricity consumption soaring
Peaks fall short of 2007, owing in part to recession
The recent sharp frosts across the country, which have sent temperatures down to -20°C for long periods, even in southern districts of Finland, have not surprisingly pushed up electricity consumption to a winter high.
According to Fingrid, responsible for the main electricity transmission grid, the highest peak so far was on Thursday morning between 8 and 9 a.m., when a figure of nearly 14,000 megawatts an hour was recorded.
Last winter was appreciably milder than this one, and the comsumption figures never went higher than slightly more than 13,000 MW-h.
The all-time high dates from February 2007, when consumption spiralled up to nearly 14,900 MW-h.
"We are well below the figures for three years ago. The recession in the economy has had an effect in this respect", commented Jyrki Uusitalo from Fingrid.
To some extent the situation was also influenced by the fact that not all operations in the society had got back into gear after the Xmas and New Year break: Epiphany happened to fall in the middle of the week this year.
Uusitalo anticipated that consumption would fall over the past weekend, but if the hard frosts continue into this week - the prediction is for a slight thaw between now and Wednesday or Thursday, with colder weather in store again towards the end of the week - the numbers could climb once again.
Even though Finland is dependent on imported electricity, there have been no worries about having enough juice to go around, although with wholesale market prices currently at record levels, the chances are that consumers may feel it in their monthly invoices down the road.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Bitter-cold weather raises electricity consumption to record levels (7.2.2007)
Severe frosts increase consumption of electricity to record levels (20.1.2006)
Finnish Meteorological Institute - five-day forecast for Helsinki