Power Restored to All Parts of the Country

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.

Coast Guard Ship Þór Supplying 70% of Dalvík’s Electricity

An employee of Rarik connects cables to the Coast Guard ship Þór

The coast guard ship Þór is currently supplying 70% of the electricity in Dalvík in North Iceland, Vísir reported this morning. The village experienced a complete electrical blackout following a historic storm earlier this week. Dalvík is the main village of the Icelandic municipality of Dalvíkurbyggð. It has a population of approximately 1,400 residents.

Þór to the Rescue

A Hercules aircraft, owned by the Danish air force, delivered a tonne’s worth of electrical cable to Dalvík yesterday. Employees of Rarik, the official energy corporation of Iceland, used the cables to connect Þór to the town’s electrical system. This marks the first time that Þór is utilized as a movable power station, a bulletin on the Icelandic Coast Guard’s states. The vessel is capable of transmitting 2MW of electricity:

“The ship was designed with the capability of delivering electricity to remote places during power blackouts. Before now, electrical companies and utility firms have not felt it necessary to utilize this feature of the ship.”

Working Around the Clock

Other parts of Dalvík are being powered by diesel backup generators, according to a bulletin posted on the homepage of Rarik. The announcement states that Rarik employees in North Iceland have been working around the clock over the past days. Despite having yet to restore electricity to approximately a quarter of the town (mainly businesses), many small victories were won last night, a Rarik employee stated in an interview with Morgunblaðið this morning.

It will still be a few days until the so-called Dalvík Line – a series of pylons that deliver electricity to the town – will be repaired. 20 pylons ruptured during the storm. Rarik may need to ration power to Dalvík, and residents are encouraged to be economical in their use of electricity. 

A Brief Overview

As noted by Morgunblaðið this morning, North Iceland is experiencing significant power outages. Electricity has been restored to almost all of the farms in Heggstaðanes and Vatnsnes in North Iceland, excluding two farms in Heggstaðanes and three in Vatnsnes. Reykjaströnd is still without electricity, and there are minor outages in Skagafjörður. The area surrounding Akureyri is experiencing more significant outages and it is unclear when repairs will finish. Most of Öxnadalur and Hörgárdalur is without electricity and so almost all of Laxárdalur. Svarfaðardalur is currently in a complete electrical blackout. The same is true for Tjörnes. Many residents of Öxarfjörður are without electricity, owing to at least ten power line poles having ruptured The rural area of Melrakkaslétta north of Kópasker, is without electricity. A diesel backup generator is supplying electricity to Raufarhöfn. The same holds true for Þórshöfn, Þistilfjörður, and Bakkafjörður. 

Breakdown Leaves South Iceland Without Electricity

power outage

Power has returned following a breakdown that left South Iceland in the dark yesterday, RÚV reports. A breakdown at Rarik substation around noon left all of Hveragerði and large parts of Ölfus without power for most of the day.

Three diesel generators have since been installed in the area and are expected to ensure electricity for the area while the station undergoes repairs. Residents have been asked to minimise the use of power and in particular to switch off lights in the many greenhouses in the region.

The outage could have been dire for Hveragerði-based ice cream producer Kjörís, which just managed to get power back in time to save 150-200 pallets of product stored in their freezers. “It was a close call,” said Hafsteinn Davíðsson, a machinist at the company.