Unusually heavy rain, falling for days on end over the past week, is finally filling up reservoirs in southern Norway at a relatively rapid rate. That can mean much lower electricity prices this winter than feared.
“It looks like we’re going to avoid the high prices we were expecting two to three months ago,” Olav Botnen, senior analyst at Volue Insight, told state broadcaster NRK. Mild temperatures with little snow or freezing temperatures also mean reservoir water levels are rising at a time of the year when they usually decline.
Consumption is also low for this time of year. “The need for heating hasn’t really begun yet” because of the relatively warm temperatures, Botnen said, “so we’ve had relatively little (electricity) consumption during the past few weeks.” It’s also an advantage that the precipitation has been coming as rain and not snow.
Market analysts had expected electricity prices to rise again sharply after New Year but that may not happen now. Consumers are also consciously trying to use much less electricity to lower high monthly bills. With more rain in the forecast, reservoirs that supply water to Norway’s hydroelectric plants are likely to keep filling up.
“We’re beginning to return to normal now,” Botnen said. It’s enough to help take the seasonal gloom out of November, known for much shorter and darker days.
Average prices were down at around 42.6 øre per kilowatt hour in southern and western Norway. Wednesday’s average is forecast to be 8.6 øre lower than Tuesday and 40.2 øre lower than on the same day last year.