Power grid chief: Storm a learning curve for local authorities

Elektrilevi chief Jaanus Tiisvend appearing on Esimene stuudio Thursday evening.
Elektrilevi chief Jaanus Tiisvend appearing on Esimene stuudio Thursday evening. Source: ERR

Head of grid distributor Elektrilevi Jaanus Tiisvend says that local authorities could have taken more steps to anticipate at-risk priorities ahead of Sunday's storm, which devastated parts of southern and western Estonia, noting that many lessons have already been drawn.

Appearing on ETV discussion show Esimene stuudio, Tiisvend told host Andres Kuusk that the storm had been a serious emergency, given its intensity and the technical nature of electricity networks.

Kuusk noted that priorities should be in place, and were, already, with hospitals and other life-or-death institutions taking top place when it came to ensuring power supplies, followed by vital services like water pumps and mobile phone masts, with schools and other important services next.

However, Kuusk said that there is room for improvement in local authorities' prioritization of key areas, noting that this had already started.

"Sad as it is, despite the good cooperation we have had regarding this storm, quite a few key objects had not been listed. Now we need to add them. But this has come out after the crisis is over," Kuusk said, adding that authorities could have reacted more quickly.

"I think with those authorities which have not updated their priorities since mid-September, things are going to change very quickly," he said, noting some authorities have already started this process since Monday.

Kuusk also said that the storm, which left tens of thousands without power in the immediate hours after it struck, particularly in South Estonia, had been a learning curve.

"It may be regrettable, but the struggle has proven the best of all training and skills have appeared within hours and days," he noted.

The clean-up operation cost Elektrilevi €750,000 euros Kuusk said, adding that the company had fulfilled its contractual obligations. He also said it had cost local businesses heavily.

The original Esimene stuudio broadcast is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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