Norwegians accustomed to relatively reasonable electricity prices, because of all their waterfalls and hydro-electric energy, are sizzling over the biggest bills they’ve ever seen at this time of year. The reason: little rain, little wind and little water in reservoirs.
Newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad reported over the weekend how the water level in one reservoir in the mountains, Gravatn, is 10 meters lower than it normally is at this time of year. The entire system of reservoirs in the mountains of Sirdalsheiene is running dry, so the usually plentiful water used to generate hydroelectric power just isn’t there.
That’s sent electricity rates soaring this month, to NOK 1.07 per kilowatt hour before all the costs of taxes and other fees are figured in. Bills to most households have risen so quickly that calls are going out to slash some of the taxes that were introduced when rates were lower.
Many worry about the looming autumn and winter, when colder temperatures will prompt Norwegians to crank up the heat. Some analysts think rates will decline when autumn storms set in, but at this rate, an average household bill this winter will hit NOK 2,000 more than last year.