The energy situation

The energy situation in Europe and Sweden is under pressure. Electricity prices are high and there is a risk of a shortage of electricity this winter. Here you will find information about the situation, why we need to reduce electricity consumption and what you can do as a private individual.

The energy situation in Sweden right now

Electricity supplies in Sweden are stable at present, but there is an increased risk of problems during the winter as it gets cold and consumption increases. This is because it is becoming more difficult than usual to import electricity from Europe and the countries that are dependent on Russian gas supplies.
At the same time, it appears that Swedish electricity consumption has decreased in the early autumn, thanks to the fact that many of us have reviewed our electricity consumption. If this reduction is maintained during the winter, the number of hours that Sweden is dependent on imports will decrease.

Electricity prices

When demand for something exceeds supply, the price increases. This is exactly what has happened to electricity recently, and for many of us it is, or risks becoming, very noticeable in our finances. Many people are concerned about prices, as electricity is something we cannot do without.

Why is the situation like this?

Over the year as a whole, Sweden has a surplus of electricity. But during the coldest hours of the year we have a deficit in electricity output, i.e. electricity at a given time. The analyses that Svenska kraftnät performs every year show that power supplies have gradually deteriorated in recent years.

Many events in the world around us are having a negative impact on the electricity situation in Sweden. The main reason is that demand for natural gas is greater than supply in the global market. Russia’s war against Ukraine means that Europe wants to be free from dependence on Russian gas, and when demand increases, prices also rise.

In September, it was announced that the operational shutdown at Ringhals 4 will be extended, which puts additional pressure on the electricity supply.

What does this mean for me?

If electricity consumption is greater than is currently possible to produce or import, there will be a power shortage. In the event of power shortage, Svenska kraftnät may decide to perform a manual disconnection. Disconnection means that electricity is switched off in a specific area, while selected activities that are important for society are prioritised so that they can continue to function. Prioritised activities can be, for example, hospitals, telecoms operators and internet service providers.

Which part of the grid is to be disconnected is determined locally. The method is known as “Styrel”, which means “steering electricity to prioritised consumers”.

Will I be forewarned?

Should we find ourselves in a situation where there is a risk of a power shortage, Svenska kraftnät will most likely see this in electricity trading the day before. This means that it is likely that it will be possible to forewarn those affected by any manual disconnection.

But a decision on manual disconnection can also be made at short notice because of a threat to the balance in the system, and it is not certain that those affected by the planned power outage can be forewarned.

Can I help by using less electricity?

If a lot of people move their electricity consumption and, for example, do not charge the car or switch on the washing machine when electricity is most needed in the rest of society, the peaks can be cut and the curve in the electrical system evened out. This reduces the risk of that the electricity will have to be disconnected. It can also be cheaper for you, if you have what is known as an hourly rate, if you do not use electricity when demand is at its highest.

Be aware of the risks

It is important to bear in mind that any use of electricity involves risks, for example fire or damage if a product breaks. The Swedish National Electrical Safety Board’s advice is to use as few electrical products as possible when they are unattended, such as when you are asleep. One good alternative might be to programme the washing machine or dishwasher to start early in the morning.

Use less electricity

Lower demand for electricity also generally has a positive effect on the price. So if you use less electricity, you will be helping more people than just yourself.

Some simple ways to become more electricity-conscious:

  • Think about what you use electricity for. As a general rule, heating makes the biggest difference. For example, try turning down radiators slightly if your home is heated by electricity. If you have underfloor heating in a room, it is a good idea to check that it is not hotter than the rest of your home, as this requires more electricity.
  • Switch off appliances and lamps that are not needed. Also check whether you have appliances in standby mode when you are not using them.
  • Use less hot water. Be a little bit quicker in the shower, and only run the washing machine and dishwasher when they are completely full.

How can I prepare for a possible disconnection?

Most things in our society depend on electricity to work. In the event of a power shortage or an extended power outage, you need to make plans to be able to prepare food, have access to drinking water, keep warm, receive important information and keep in touch with your loved ones. Reinforce your home preparedness and you will be better able to cope with a social crisis, regardless of what has happened.

During a disconnection, it is a good idea to not use your mobile for moving images and the like that require a lot of space in the mobile network. There is a risk that the base stations (mobile masts) that are in operation will be overloaded. The batteries that are there to keep the base station running will not last as long if the load is higher than normal, writes the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS).