Successful crisis management is decisive in critical situations


Emergencies do not wait until you are perfectly prepared to handle them. Given that power failures cost the economy millions of Euro per hour and also cause great restrictions for the consumer, swift action is the most important factor in crisis management. From 27 November to 7 December 2006, VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) will be carrying out an extensive crisis scenario in Upper Austria to ensure that it will be in a position to maintain security of supply or restore the power supply as quickly as possible in a crisis situation.

APG Managing Director Dr. Heinz Kaupa explains: “The blackout all over Europe at the beginning of November quickly opened our eyes to how quickly distant problems can also effect Austria. This crisis scenario should help us to react quickly and professionally in an emergency situation and keep economic damage at a minimum.”

The training, which will take place in Mehrnbach near Ried im Innkreis (Upper Austria) and will also involve Energie AG OÖ, the authorities, relief organizations and the armed forces, involves the following scenario:

After a long period of heavy rainfall, three pylons on the 220 kV line to the west of Ried became unsettled and collapsed. Parallel to this, the 380 kV line in this region was also damaged as a result of slope movement.

Specially trained APG employees in cooperation with a line construction company will have the task of constructing a temporary line with emergency masts in just four days. The scenario assumes that this will relieve the burden on the intact section of the Austrian electricity grid that has to handle the capacities of the damaged section for the duration of the failure.

On completion of the scenario on 4 December 2006, the temporary line will be dismantled and transported away from the site.

Ing. Wolfgang Prießnitz, the project leader for the crisis scenario who has incorporated the findings of studies conducted by the University for Agriculture and Forestry explains: “The heavy rainfall and flooding in the last years and the increased danger of flooding forecast by the scientists were the motivating force behind this very realistic crisis scenario.

This is one of the most extensive scenarios to be tested in the past years and it represents a great technical and logistical challenge for all participants. Helicopters, cranes and cable hoists will also be used”.

The experience gained, particularly in the area of crisis management, will be evaluated by the renowned crisis expert Wolfgang N. Bachler, the long-serving commander of the special task force “Cobra”. The findings will enhance APG’s expertise in the area of crisis management.

Dr. Kaupa summarizes: “Professional crisis management is an important task for all companies that have a sense of responsibility. It is vital that every possible step is taken to prevent the outbreak of a crisis. For this reason, it is essential that the 380 kV line be completed as quickly as possible to guarantee security of supply in Austria.”