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Swedes should prepare for unprecedented power cuts, government says

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OSLO — Sweden’s government on Wednesday warned households and companies to prepare for possible power cuts this winter amid nuclear reactor outages, cold weather and a shortfall of energy in Europe after Russia reduced its gas exports.

“The risk of outages is real and Swedes must prepare themselves for this,” Minister for Civilian Defence Carl-Oskar Bohlin told a news conference.

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“Sweden has never been in this situation before,” he said.

Nordic power prices have soared this year amid fears that cuts in Russian gas exports to Europe will lead to shortages, and the Swedish government earlier this month urged people to use less electricity.

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Emergency plans must take into account the possibility of short as well as longer outages where power does not return as planned, the minister said.

“Those who under normal circumstances can take care of themselves, must also be able to do so in a crisis such as a power outage,” Bohlin said.

Official recommendations include keeping a battery driven radio, flashlights, bottled water and food that is simple to prepare.

In case of an outage, households should designate a room in which the family can stay in order to preserve heat over time, the minister said.

“It’s better to be prepared than not. This is not an attempt at being alarmist,” Bohlin said.

Swedish utility Vattenfall on Dec. 2 said it had delayed the restart of its Ringhals 4 nuclear reactor to Feb. 23, one of several outages hitting Nordic power supply.

The Swedish government last week said it had asked the national power grid operator and the country’s energy regulator to intensify their work on boosting security of power supply both for the short and long term. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, Editing by Louise Heavens)


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