Bitter-cold weather raises electricity consumption to record levels
Early on Wednesday morning, the average hourly consumption of electricity temporarily reached an all-time record of 14,970 megawatts, reported the national electricity transmission grid operator Fingrid. The previous record was from January 2006, when the consumption reached 14,860 MW.
Fingrid predicts that a landmark figure of 15,000 MW will be reached tonight around 8.00 p.m.
This morning Fingrid brought into use some reserve power and will get more if needed.
After an exceptionally mild start to the winter, Finland has slipped into deep-freeze mode with a vengeance. Overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, the frost got still more bitter, and right after midnight a temperature of nearly -30°C was measured in Oulu, while the temperature in Helsinki was -20°C, in Tampere -27°C, and in Turku -24°C.
The record of this winter of -39.9°C was measured in the Naruska region in Eastern Finnish Lapland on the night between Monday and Tuesday.
Hard frosts pushed the consumption of electricity to this winter's record levels already on Tuesday. At around 6.00 p.m. Fingrid measured a peak output of 14,340 megawatts.
Towards evening, the average consumption moved around 14,200 MW when the demand for electricity in households increased.
The growth in the consumption was also reflected in the market price of electricity. On Tuesday, the Finnish price of electricity was some 3.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is one cent more than on Monday.
The cold weather also means problems for train transport. According to Mauno Haapala of the national rail operator VR, the situation today is likely to be the same as on Tuesday, with around 30 per cent of the country's long-distance trains having been delayed.
However, the regional transport in the Greater Helsinki area operated fairly well, considering the super-chilly weather conditions.
According to the forecast by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, a light to moderate northeasterly wind will blow in southern and central parts of the country on Wednesday. The temperatures will be slightly lower than on Tuesday, mostly between -25°C and -35°C. In Northern Lapland things will be somewhat milder, with moderate snowfall here and there.
Cold though it may be, the weather still has some way to go to threaten the country's all-time low temperature. The record, set in Kittilä in Western Lapland as recently as January 1999, is a breezy -51.5°C.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Record warm December in Finland (3.1.2007)
Severe frosts increase consumption of electricity to record levels (20.1.2006)
Finnish Meteorological Institute