Imagine that you only have access to electricity for eight hours a day, and you can’t use e-mail or your mobile phone.
Could become a reality
This could become a reality if power is rationed. Imagine the following scenario: Year after year of little precipitation and long, cold winters. At the same time, little power is imported due to faults in the power grid, or in foreign power plants. The authorities link in gas power plants, but it does not help much as the reservoir levels are extremely low and many power plants are forced to cut production of electricity.
Electricity cut off
In such a situation, power-intensive industry may be cut off, and private households will have electricity quotas they can use each day. Hospitals and other critical services will have to be prioritised, such as water and food supply. Electricity to private households will be cut off for large parts of the day, and the situation could last for several weeks.
Affect daily lives
How will rationing affect people’s daily lives? ICT systems such as the internet, land-line telephones and mobile telephones will be particularly affected as they depend on electricity.
Problems could also arise in paying with debit cards in shops, or in withdrawing cash from cash points. Fuel pumps will be out of service, and there will be limited access to petrol. The loss of power to traffic light systems could also lead to delays and problems in rail and road traffic. Many thousands of people could face these consequences. Uncertainty and anxiety about future developments could lead to hoarding, particularly of food and fuel.
Will the situation pose a danger to life and health? Yes, if the rationing situation is prolonged. Among other things, lack of heating could be a serious challenge during winter, particularly for the sick and elderly.
An increase in the number of accidents is also expected as a consequence of the loss of power. At the same time, the authorities’ ability to respond to accidents and other acute situations could be severely reduced, as failures in the telecommunications and signals networks will make it difficult to notify the proper authorities. The power outages could cause fatalities.