Bitter cold boosts rates again

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As Norway entered its fifth week of bitterly cold weather over most of the country, Norwegians were being warned that their electricity bills in January may be three times as high as they were this past January, when cold weather also had sent rates soaring.

Cold weather has sent power demand up and supplies down, resulting in record high electricity rates. PHOTO: Views and News

The ongoing cold snap has left mountain reservoirs with the lowest water levels in 28 years. That’s bad news for a country that relies on hydroelectric power.

Spot prices for power have risen from 40 øre per kilowatt hour in the Oslo area earlier this fall to 72 øre this week, with more increases looming.

The situation is worse for residents of central Norway, where rates are even higher.

New supplies of power were being imported from Sweden and Denmark, prompting newspaper Aftenposten to run a headline on Thursday claiming that “The Swedes are saving us!” That’s an admission the Norwegians don’t make lightly, given the traditional rivalry between Norway and Sweden.

Industry experts expected the high electricity rates to continue until springtime, with no declines due until April.

Views and News staff