No Hot Water in Hafnarfjörður, Parts of Garðabær, Monday to Wednesday

Due to the connection of new heating mains, there will be no hot water in all of Hafnarfjörður and parts of Garðabær between Monday night and Wednesday morning next week. The new mains are expected to ensure Hafnarfjörður’s hot water supply over the coming decades.

Integration of new heating mains

Veitur (Iceland’s public utility company) announced yesterday that Hafnarfjörður and select parts of Garðabær would be without hot water from 10 PM on Monday, August 21, to 10 AM on Wednesday, August 23. This interruption owes to the integration of new heating mains.

As noted in the announcement, the new mains will bolster transport capacity, addressing the growth in residential demand in Hafnarfjörður, stemming from town expansion; the aim is to ensure Hafnarfjörður’s hot water supply over the coming decades.

Laying new main pipes in established neighbourhoods is rare, and the process is extensive. However, Veitur commits to swift, safe completion. Updates will be available on Veitur’s website.

The following streets in Garðabær will be affected by the closure: Boðahlein, Naustahlein, Hraunholt, Hraungarðar, Hraunhóll, Hraunhamrar, Hrauntunga, Hraunkot, Hraunborg, Gimli, Björk, Brandstaðir, Garðahraun, Miðhraun, Norðurhraun, Suðurhraun, and Vesturhraun.

Power Outage in Downtown Reykjavík

power outage downtown reykjavík

Parts of downtown Reykjavík were without power this morning due to a high-voltage failure.

According to utility company Veitur, work began on the power outage around 9:10 this morning. The outage is reported to have occurred around 8:00.

Some downtown businesses were affected, needing to open later because of the outages.

Veitur states that as of 10:05, power has been restored in all areas of downtown Reykjavík.

Public Pools in Capital Area Set to Reopen at 3 PM

Laugardalslaug geothermal swimming pool in Reykjavík

Following closures yesterday, public pools in the capital area are expected to open again at 3 PM today.

A prolonged cold spell leads to hot-water supply cuts

Owing to a prolonged cold spell, the utility company Veitur decided yesterday to cut its supply of hot water to some of its largest users, among them, the public swimming pools in the capital area. All of the pools throughout the capital region were subsequently closed.

In a news bulletin published yesterday, the City of Reykjavík noted that most of the pools will reopen at 3 PM today. Vesturbæjarlaug, in West Reykjavík, began reheating its hot tubs and pools at noon and hopes that temperatures will be just right at 3 PM. Laugardalslaug will also open at 3 PM. The beach in Nauthólsvík opened again at noon while Árbæjarlaug in East Reykjavík will open at 9 AM tomorrow.

Iceland Review recommends calling public pools in advance to make sure that your pool of choice is open.

On its website, Veitur noted that – due to the heavy use of hot water – residents in some areas of the capital region may experience a drop in pressure. “We encourage people to take good care of the heat, check the seals on windows and doors, make sure the heating system is working properly and don’t leave the hot tub running on the coldest days,” a post on Veitur’s website reads.

Capital Area Pools Closed to Conserve Hot Water

sundhöll

Pools throughout the capital region will be closed today due to the cold spell affecting Iceland.

Utility company Veitur will be cutting its supply of hot water to some of its largest users, in an attempt to reduce hot water use.

In response to Veitur’s reduction, Reykjavík City has made the decision to close the city’s pools today, January 19. The closures will also affect the bathing facilities at Nauthólsvík. The closures will also be in effect in the nearby towns of Mosfellbær and Kópavogur.

Bathers will however still be able to visit the pools in Garðabær, though water temperatures may be potentially lower than usual. The Seltjarnes pool will likewise continue to be open, as it is supplied directly from a geothermal borehole.

In a public statement, Veitur hopes to not have to limit the hot water supply for any longer than today, as warmer weather is expected. Pools are expected to open tomorrow, but this may be subject to change.

The pool closures come during one of the coldest winters in recent memory. This past December was the coldest since 1973, although average temperatures have risen slightly in January. Temperatures have been especially cold in the Reykjavík area, where it has not been colder (on average) since 1916.

In light of these unusual conditions, Veitur has also asked residents to help out in conserving hot water where possible. According to Veitur, some 90% of hot water use by Icelandic households goes towards heating alone. Residents are reminded to close doors and windows to conserve energy and to ensure that radiators aren’t blocked from heating the room.

Cold Spell Continues: Emergency Shelters Open All Day Today

An icy Reykjavík City Pond.

The City of Reykjavík has activated an emergency plan and will keep emergency shelters open around the clock today, Vísir reports. An unhoused man hopes that the city will continue keep emergency shelters open 24 hours a day for the duration of the cold spell, predicted to last ten more days at least. The cold weather is expected to have wide-ranging effects.

The unhoused hope for extended shelter

As reported by Iceland review earlier this week, temperatures in Iceland have hovered well below 0°C over the past week – and if weather forecasts prove accurate, temperatures are expected to drop even further this weekend and the next.

In response to the cold weather, the City of Reykjavík has decided to keep its emergency shelters open over the next 24 hours (the shelters are normally open from 5 PM to 10 AM). The city will then assess the situation, going forward, tomorrow. Speaking to Vísir, Heiða Björg Hilmisdóttir, Chair of Reykjavík City’s Welfare Council, stated that City of Reykjavík would be reviewing the possibility of expanding shelters:

“It’s our priority that no one is made to sleep outside or is turned away at night. If only there were more organisations like Samhjálp, Icelandic Church Aid, and the Icelandic Red Cross that were willing to help, that would be very helpful.”

Heiða pointed out that approximately 300 people had availed themselves of emergency shelters in the city this year, of which a hundred came from other municipalities. Other municipalities must get involved: “We’re learning, and we need to listen and evaluate and do as well as we can, but other municipalities besides Reykjavík need to involve themselves.”

Ragnar Erling Hermannsson, who has been unhoused for some time, hopes that emergency shelters will be kept open around the clock while the cold spell lasts:

“I’m going to see if they keep the shelters open around the clock beyond today,” Ragnar observed. “It makes you wonder if this is just some kind of showmanship by the city. In reality, they have a choice between two or three people dying today or keeping the shelters open while the cold lasts.”

A difficult time for small birds

Aside from the dangers that freezing temperatures pose to people, the cold spell also makes it difficult for small birds to find food and running water.

“It’s hard to find food in this frost,” Hólmfríður Arnarsdóttir, Director of BirdLife Iceland, told Vísir. “There are only a few hours a day of sunlight, so there is less time to look for food and more time that must be dedicated to keeping warm, i.e. the entirety of the night.”

Hólmfríður stated that it is extremely important for people to feed the birds and make sure that they get water while the cold weather persists: “It’s best to feed them twice a day: at dawn and at dusk.”

More pools to be closed?

On Tuesday, Rangárveitur, which manages the hot-water supply in three municipalities in South Iceland, published a press release to notify residents that the hot-water supply was nearing its limit. In light of the cold, the local authorities, on the advice of Veitur, decided to close three public pools in the area – in Hvolsvöllur, Hella, and Laugaland.

The cold could also affect swimming pools in the capital area. Steinthór Einarsson, Director of Operations and Services at ÍTR (Sports and Outdoor Activities), told Vísir yesterday that three public pools may need to be closed:

“There are three pools, Vesturbæjarlaug (West Reykjavík), Sundhöllin (Downtown Reykjavík), and Dalslaug (Grafarholt), which we may need to close due to the cold. I just received a message stating that they don’t need to be closed tomorrow (Friday, December 16), but we reassess every day. As there is a very cold forecast ahead, it’s impossible to say for certain.”

Continued Cold Spell: Three Pools in South Iceland Closed

Low cost of electricity in Iceland compared with the rest of Europe

Three public pools in South Iceland will be closed indefinitely today to save hot water, RÚV reports. Iceland’s national utility company does not expect rationing to affect households. Temperatures around the country are expected to drop further this week.

A spell of freezing temperatures

Temperatures in Iceland have barely risen above 0°C over the past days – and the weather is expected to get colder as the week progresses. As noted by RÚV, households in Iceland have been kept warm by an abundance of geothermal energy, and according to information from Veitur – Iceland’s national utility company – the country’s hot-water system is well equipped to handle the cold spell; the system has yet to reach its limit, although Veitur will continue to assess the state of the system on a daily basis.

Even though the country’s hot-water supply is expected to handle the coming cold without incident, Rangárveitur, which manages the hot-water supply in three municipalities in South Iceland, is nearing its limit, a press release from Veitur notes. In light of the cold weather, the local authorities have decided to close three public pools in the area – in Hvolsvöllur, Hella, and Laugaland – starting today. The authorities hope that the pools will only be closed for a few days, or over the coldest period.

Order of priority

As far as additional reductions to the hot-water supply are concerned, a Veitur spokesperson told RÚV that cuts were always made first among large users – bathing lagoons, public pools, and butcheries, e.g. In the event of forced rationing, Veitur screens for “essential services” while also assessing whether relevant water conduits were capable of withstanding closures. As it stands, there is enough hot water to keep Icelandic households warm, although Veitur could be forced to make brief reductions (as in the case of the public pools in the Rangárvellir municipality).

Veitur recommends that homeowners keep their hot-water usage within reasonable limits. Ideally, radiator valves are to be set at 3 (20°C), allowing the thermostatic valve to detect the temperature in the room and adjust accordingly. Windows should be kept closed.

Much of Downtown Reykjavík Without Hot Water During Scheduled Maintenance

veitur maintenance water

According to a bulletin posted on Veitur’s website, Iceland’s national utility company, much of central Reykjavík was without hot water last night and will continue to be so through the morning.

Repair work began at 9:00PM last night, and is expected to continue until at least 9:00AM today.

Areas affected include downtown Reykjavík west of Kringlumyrarbraut to Grandi and parts of Vesturbær.

A map of the affected area can be accessed here at Veitur’s website.

Residents are advised to turn off hot water taps during the scheduled maintenance in order to prevent damage when the hot water returns. Those affected are also advised to take steps to conserve heat during the temporary outage, such as keeping windows and doors shut.

 

Damaged Waterline in Hvassaleiti: Nearly 3,000 Tonnes of Water Leaked

Reykjavík sewage Veitur flooding Reykjavík

This Friday evening, September 2, nearly 3,000 tonnes of water leaked when a waterline failed in the Reykjavík neighborhood of Hvassaleiti. According to RÚV, the manager of utility company Veitur stated that they reacted as quickly as possible.

The leak lasted for about an hour, with mechanical crews responding to the incident within 30 minutes. However, because much water remained in the system, it continued for another some 30 minutes after the initial shutoff.

Residents of the area reported the leak around 10PM Friday evening.

Authorities claim that they responded to the situation as well as possible. In a statement to RÚV, Sólrún Kristjánsdóttir, managing director of Veitur, said: “We have reviewed this and it seems to me that we have reacted quickly and well.  But it’s really just a train of water coming from Heiðmörk that we’re stopping. It’s not just a button that you turn off, you have to do it deliberately and slowly, because it can otherwise be a very big blow to the system.”

The pipe in question was 60 years old, having been installed in 1962. As of now, it is unclear what the cause of the failure was, but many older pipes are at risk of breaking at their joints. An investigation is currently underway to determine if the proper maintenance had been performed on the pipe, and if the accident was preventable.

Those affected by the flooding are advised to contact VÍS, Veitur’s insurance company, to apply for damage compensation.

 

 

 

Lightning Storm Knocks Out Power, Hot Water in Reykjavík and West Iceland

Lightning strike

A rare lightning storm in the capital area knocked out electricity and hot water in much of Reykjavík and West Iceland on Friday, RÚV reports. The storm also cut off electricity to a number of traffic lights in the city.

Not all areas of the capital were equally affected by the outages. In some areas, people only experienced lights flickering and dimming, followed by appliance outages around 4:00 pm. In the areas of Úlfarársdalur, Þormóðsdalur, and Hafravatn, however, electricity was completely out starting at 9:00 am and as of 5:00 pm, repairs had still not been made due to worsening weather conditions.

Shortly before 5:00 pm, utilities provider Veitur announced that storms and lightning had created a number of service disruptions due to damage to their electrical systems and voltage drops. Almost all of Veitur’s water pumps, from Grundafjörður on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to the town of Hvolsvöllur on the South coast, stopped functioning due to these disruptions. As of 5:00 pm, Veitur was hopeful that both hot and cold water would be running again within the hour, wherever the electricity was working. Some power outages were expected to continue in West Iceland.

Indeed, residents in a large part of West Iceland were without power for much of Friday. Reserve power sources were activated but locals were advised to use electricity sparingly until the evening and especially to try not to cook, i.e. use their stoves, from 3:00 – 7:00 pm.

No Hot Water in Downtown Reykjavík or Vesturbær Tomorrow

There will be no hot water in parts of downtown Reykjavík and the Vesturbær neighbourhood tomorrow, August 17, between 3:00 AM and 4:00 PM. The closure is necessary to connect a new hot water pipeline for the National University Hospital to the main pipeline that transports hot water to Vesturbær.

Residents are advised to have all taps off during this period to avoid damage once water is turned on again. In case of cold weather, it is advisable to keep windows and doors closed in order to conserve heat. The affected area is marked red in the map above.

Veitur will post progress updates on their Facebook page.