Sales of portable generators, other crisis items soar in wake of PM speech

Portable, gasoline-powered electricity generator.
Portable, gasoline-powered electricity generator. Source: ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' (Reform) call to action Thursday evening to be prepared for possible power outages in the event of the Russian Federation disconnecting from the Estonian grid has prompted the public to take action to an extent which the emergency services alone had not been able to achieve, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Friday.

The high-level warning, issued in a televised address made Thursday evening, came as a surprise to many traders.

Sven Milli, product manager at home improvement and building stores chain Bauhof, told AK that sales of portable electricity generators had soared in the immediate aftermath of Kallas' address.

He said: "The prime minister proved to be a very good salesman - today's sales have been more than 100 items, that is, more than in the preceding four months. This demonstrates that there was a very quick reaction," adding that the first purchases had been bought online, within minutes of the speech.

By comparison, Bauhof sold 50 generators in a two-week period, following the autumn 2019 storm in southeastern Estonia, Miili said, adding that the store was likely to have sold out of portable generators by or on Saturday.

Miili stressed that such generators are not for use in an apartment in town, given that they run on gasoline, but added that they are very suitable for use in countryside houses, which many Estonians own or share, and for recharging electronic gadgets crucial for communication, such as computers and smartphones.

CEO of supermarket chain Rimi, Vaido Padumäe, told AK that sales of dry foodstuffs, pet food and toilet paper increased by ten percent on the Friday, while candle purchases saw an uptick.

For the supermarkets themselves, a power outage would mean they could continue working for around an hour, though no longer – backup generators are only installed in the central warehouse, Padumäe said, adding that plans were in place for the distribution of goods in the event of crisis.

Mikko Virkala, a prevention expert at the Rescue Board (Päästeamet), told AK he had been trying to prepare the Estonian people for a crisis for seven years now, but is only now being taken seriously.

Crisis reserves should be sufficient for seven days, he added, while families should estimate what they need to drink, eat and keep warm during that time-frame and without assistance.

A radio with batteries, flashlights and/or candles, spare batteries for phones and around three liters of drinking water per person, per day, as well as a stock of plastic bags – in which to evacuate bodily wastes – and tape, to seal the bag.

Keeping vehicles fully refueled at all times is also advisable, in order to be able to reach the country house in the event of a crisis.

The prime minister said during her address Thursday evening that: "We must also be prepared that Russia might disconnect Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from their electricity grid.

"Although Estonia has been preparing for emergency desynchronization from the Russian electricity system for years, there may still be temporary problems with the supply of electricity. It would be wise to be prepared for possible power outages – that includes public authorities, companies, and every individual.

" I encourage you to think about how to deal with a power outage. The instructions are also available on the [state emergency preparedness] Ole Valmis site."


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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