Preparing for electricity disruptions and extraordinary circumstances
On this page, we have collected information about preparing for electricity disruptions and extraordinary situations from the perspective of both Oulun Energia and consumers.
How Oulun Energia prepares for disruptions and power shortages
Fingrid Oyj is responsible for ensuring the sufficiency of electricity in the national grid. In the event of disturbances and power shortages, Fingrid, as the system operator, controls the operations nationwide. In a power shortage, Oulun Energia Sähköverkko Oy directs power outages to areas determined by Fingrid that do not have operations critical to the functioning of society.
In practice, in the event of a power shortage, power outages lasting a couple of hours would be circulated in different areas. Blackout areas would be evenly distributed around the power network, and would not be limited based on a city-countryside or urban area preference. The blackouts would be concentrated in areas that do not have operations or functions vital to society, livelihood, or the economy. Such vital operations include hospitals, care facilities, and critical base stations for signal systems. It is not possible to provide a simple map of the power outages, as the situation depends on the magnitude of the power shortage and of the amount of electrical power that must be disconnected due to it.
The Electricity Market Act and the Emergency Powers Act mandate that Oulun Energia Sähköverkko, as a network operator, continuously update its emergency and preparedness plans. The preparedness plan determines how to prepare for disruptions, implementation of regulatory measures due to power shortages, and extraordinary circumstances referred to in the Emergency Powers Act in practice. Oulun Energia Sähköverkko Oy has up-to-date emergency and preparedness plans. We are constantly monitoring the situation and updating our plans accordingly.
In case of exceptional circumstances, Oulun Energia also cooperates with the City of Oulu and various local organisations and officials. The cooperation covers, for example, practice runs and the division of roles during crises.
In cooperation with us, the City of Oulu has prepared backup power solutions to secure sites that have been identified as critical, like hospitals and care facilities. Oulun Energia Sähköverkko Oy has procured backup power generators in case of fault situations, and in the event of a serious large-scale electricity supply disruption, these backup power solutions will ensure the continuity of Oulun Energia’s operations.
Tips for consumers to prepare for electricity disruptions
Thanks to preventive measures, long power outages are rare. A cyclical interruption and rationing of electricity supply is also an extremely exceptional and rare measure that is only taken for compelling reasons. In practice, such reasons could include a shortage in electricity production, a fault in a significant transmission connection or a fault situation at several power plants at the same time.
However, households and organisations should always be prepared for temporary outages, even ones spanning days. It is the responsibility of those with electrically heated homes and businesses to prepare themselves and obtain the backup power solutions they need for different situations.
During outages, it is also a good idea to make sure that you do not unnecessarily contribute to the damage caused by power outages. Common sense goes a long way. You should try to keep your home warm and food stores cool. Avoid opening your door unnecessarily. It is worth noting that water pipes are at risk of freezing in winter. You should also have a reserve of food, drinks, and other necessities to last you at least a few days.
Here are some things that are good to get for the home:
- a torch, candles, and matches
- batteries for the radio and torch
- spare fuses
- a backup power bank for charging the phone without mains electricity
- a small amount of cash
- a food reserve of canned food, dry food, and bottled water
- painkillers, bandages, and plasters
- firewood, if there is a wood-burning fireplace or oven in your home
For more tips on preparing for power outages at home, see the Ministry of Defence’s publication Pahasti poikki (in Finnish only).