Sudden Cold Spell Causes Line Breakdown

12/6/2002Wien

Heavy snowfall in the Koralpe mountain range caused serious line trouble at the only Austrian 380-kV feeder line to Graz and its surroundings and southern Styria last night.

Shortly after midnight, one system of the double line of VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) between Obersielach (municipal district of Voelkermarkt in Carinthia) and Kainachtal (south of Graz) broke down and has not yet returned to service. Since then the intensive power consumption area of Graz and southern Styria has been supplied with only one Austrian system at the 380 kV level. In view of the bad weather situation additional troubles at the second line, which is active, cannot be precluded. If this line also breaks down, the only way of supplying Graz and its surroundings will be from Slovenia.

Although all required measures were taken immediately, it is impossible to say when the line will return to service. The staff of the APG Line Team Sued is checking the 72-km line connection. Due to the weather situation and the snow conditions the roads are partly impassable. For a complete check of the line the use of a helicopter is required.

The really difficult current situation shows again that plugging the gap in the 380-kV-grid in southern Styria is a matter of urgency. The electricity consumers will not be able to feel comfortable about the electricity supply situation of this important economic area until two independent maximum voltage grids are available.