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Distress call to electricity companies

20.01.2022 - 09:43
Mynd: RÚV / RÚV
Icelandic electricity generators have been sent a distress call from the energy agency and the natural resources ministry about the expected energy shortage this year and possible restrictions between February and June.

According to Morgunblaðið, the energy agency (Orkustofnun) has called for information on the generation capacity of each electricity company and whether they have capacity to increase supplies, “in order to avoid electric-powered district heating systems in [geothermally] cold regions needing to use oil instead of environmentally-sound electricity,” the agency’s letter, seen by Morgunblaðið, says.

The ‘distress call’ is the latest iteration of the energy shortage that has become a problem recently. Supplies have been rationed to major users, such as data centres, aluminium smelters, and fish rendering plants. 

High price 

In other, unrelated, electricity news: when people move into a new home, they can either choose an electricity company within seven days, or be allocated one automatically, in order to make sure electricity supply is uninterrupted. 

Orkustofnun, the energy agency, contracted with N1 rafmagn to provide this service. While 300-400 people a month do choose their new electricity provider, around a thousand become N1 customers by default. 

The head of the consumer rights agency accuses the company of deception, as it charges these customers 11.16 krónur per Kilowatt hour, while their advertised rate for new customers choosing the company is 6.44 krónur. The energy agency chose N1 because of its competitive prices, but it is not apparently offering them to new customers who have not actively chosen the company. 

This deception, according to the consumer agency, costs the average household 24,000 krónur a year, and nets N1 an extra two million a month. 

The energy agency is now aware of the company’s two different tariffs but it is not yet clear what, if anything, will change. 

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