Around 4,000 households still without power in Estonia

{{1670908560000 | amCalendar}}
Work to repair power lines in Saaremaa.
Work to repair power lines in Saaremaa. Source: ERR

Outages caused by heavy snowfall and strong winds affected some 4,000 customers of distribution system operator Elektrilevi at around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, two-thirds of them in Saaremaa. The DSO said that power will be restored to the mainland Tuesday and most places on the islands Wednesday evening.

Data from Elektrilevi suggested 2,800 Saaremaa households were without power at 11 a.m.

Early Tuesday morning saw 539 consumers affected in Hiiumaa. Households or companies without power numbered 539 in Harju County and 140 in Lääne-Viru County.

The wave of disruptions was caused by heavy snowfall in western Estonia that started on Friday evening, accompanied by freezing rain, and continued when a snowstorm swept across Estonia Monday.

On Monday evening, Elektrilevi reported 3,600 customers in Saaremaa and around 2,000 on the mainland without power, with the company restoring electricity to 2,000 customers in the last 24 hours. Work is continuing in cooperation of the Saaremaa Crisis Committee, Rescue Board, sea rescue and volunteers on an even bigger scale.

The DSO said it is sending additional generators to Saaremaa the locations of which will be chosen in cooperation with the Saaremaa Crisis Committee.

Elektrilevi: Most islands' residents will have their power restored by Wednesday at the latest

Elektrilevi has dispatched additional teams to help fix outages in Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, with 29 brigades working round the clock and the search for more continuing.

The DSO's teams of workers will try to eliminate most outages on the western Estonian islands by Wednesday evening and restore power on the mainland on Tuesday, while it may take until the end of the week to fix some lines, manager Mihkel Härm said.

Härm told the "Terevisioon" morning show that 50-60 brigades are working on restoring power all over Estonia, half of them on the islands.

He added that because teams cannot be everywhere at once, places where the power has been out longer are prioritized. There are places in Saaremaa that lost power on Wednesday or Thursday last week.

"Next, we will concentrate on [power] lines that supply apartment buildings, pumping stations and sewage systems. Isolated forest farms will be last in line, unfortunately," Härm said.

He said that while he wishes he could promise islands' residents more, having had to go back on previous pledges, there is no cause for too much optimism.

Talking about the main reason for extensive outages, Mihkel Härm pointed to freezing rain that fell on the islands early Saturday morning. This caused ice to build up on power lines, tearing them down in many places simultaneously, with trees falling on top. Teams scrambling to repair power lines are working up to their chest in snow in some areas, he added.

Asked whether access paths were cleared ahead of the storm, Härm admitted that maintenance work could have been better, adding that the main reason for outages is still the fact that trees are allowed to grow too close to the lines and end up falling on them.

He said that Elektrilevi spends a few dozen million euros on service and repairs annually, with €3-4 million spent on clearing brushwood. "The sum could be bigger," he said.

Addressing criticism by the Saaremaa Municipality mayor, Härm admitted that Elektrilevi's initial damage report was a little too optimistic. "Once there, it turned out that a single failure could mean having to fix lines in 27 different locations. We reworked our threat assessment on Saturday and have escalated it to the highest level possible, which is why a record number of brigades are working in Saaremaa."

In the future, Elektrilevi could be more adept at putting together threat assessments and even overreact to be able to fix outages faster, the head of the DSO remarked.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Marcus Turovski

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: