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Power Restored to All Parts of the Country

By Ragnar Tómas

Photo: Rarik.is.

According to RARIK, the state energy corporation of Iceland, power was restored to all parts of the country yesterday, RÚV reports. RARIK still expects power outages as repairs are far from finished. Backup generators are still powering many parts of the country.

A Milestone in Repairs

Following a severe storm last week – that resulted in unprecedented power failure – RARIK and Landsnet have for the past week worked to repair Iceland’s electrical system. Transportation, communication, and businesses were all affected by the storm.

In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Helga Jóhannesdóttir, head of RARIK’s operations division, stated that restoring power to all parts of the country that had experienced blackouts marked a significant milestone. Electricity was restored to Hrútafjarðarháls and to neighbouring areas of Hvammstangi. RARIK expects brief power outages as repairs are still being finished.

11,000 Residents Without Electricity

In a speech before Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir discussed the aftermath of the storm and the government’s response.

“It’s not an exaggeration to speak of a major storm. As meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson has noted we have not seen such conditions – with regard to northerly winds, salinity, high air pressure – since 1973  when a similar storm passed over the country in February, during the eruption on Heimaey,” Katrín stated.

“It’s clear that we possess enormous strength as a society, as those who responded to the storm accomplished incredible things, working around the clock to achieve what was nothing short of a miracle. At the same time, we must face up to the fact that the storm exposed significant weaknesses within our infrastructure.”

Katrín broadly recounted the series of events, observing that the Icelandic Met Office had for the first time issued a red weather warning and that police authorities had also declared a state of uncertainty. “According to information from the Civil Defence Commission, of the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, approximately 11,000 residents in 7,600 homes were without electricity.”

In her speech, Katrín emphasised that she had established a task force involving five ministries to propose necessary improvements.

Extreme Weather

Snow, wind, and ice damaged power lines and posts in North and East Iceland last Tuesday and Wednesday when a winter storm blew across the country. The resulting outages left thousands without power, some areas for as long as five days. In areas where the hot water supply relies on electricity, homes quickly got cold indoors. Some residents found themselves without electricity, heat, radio, or even cell phone signals, unable to reach help in case of emergencies.

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