Upon reading the headline “Austrian minister warns of possible power outage across Europe”, we’ll admit, we were pretty shocked too. What did they know that we didn’t? Is it due to the increase in electricity demand expected over the coming weeks? The bad weather sweeping across several parts of the world? Not really. Not yet, actually.
It’s more of an education campaign
To be fair, the increase in freak weather conditions, harsher winters and hotter summers do drive up energy demand and consumption. Having said that, an EU-wide blackout is a pretty bold prediction to make. What Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner has in mind is more of an education campaign about what to do in such a circumstance…if it ever did arise.
She explained that it’s more a question of “when” rather than “if” though, and it’s not something that should be underestimated, especially when it can have dire, far-reaching consequences for millions. A social media campaign is underway, while thousands of posters are being distributed.
Austria’s military has also been training for this possible blackout, and barracks should be self-sufficient by 2025. Their main purpose would be to provide support to other emergency services such as firemen, health workers and other organisations.
What should you do in such a scenario?
Should this ever happen, make sure to remain home as much as possible during the event. This means that preparing from before is essential. Stock up on tinned foods, packaged/sealed snacks, water, radio transmitter, candles and matches. Also, make sure to keep a first-aid kit handy, phones fully charged and if you own a power bank, make sure that’s fully charged too.
Keep outdoor activity to a minimum, as traffic lights and road lights are unlikely to be working too, especially if such an event occurs in the winter months when visibility is reduced and road conditions are not favourable, to say the least.
This comes to a backdrop of discussions in Europe about the best way forward in terms of energy distribution. As countries cut back on coal-fired stations and replace them with renewable energy, swings that pass dangerously close to blackouts are expected. However, there are measures in place to avoid this becoming a reality.
This is why there is an intention to move from spinning turbines that provide electricity to batteries that store this energy and provide a supply for the demand. Watch this space, as it’s surely not the last we’ve heard of it.
Should Maltese authorities do more to educate people about what to do in case of a blackout?