Finnish Utilities Struggle to Restore Power After Storm Ends

Fortum Oyj and other utilities in Finland struggled to restore power to homes after two days of storm winds felled trees and caused damage across the Nordic region.

About 94,000 Finnish homes were blacked out, down from 180,000 this morning, some for the second day, power companies including Fortum said on their websites. Fortum had 46,000 people affected, while Sweden’s Vattenfall AB couldn’t service 18,400 customers in Finland.

In Sweden, 9,600 people were without electricity today, according to the websites of the three-largest utilities, including Vattenfall and EON AG. Norway’s grid operator Statnett AS said that about 5,000 clients were still without power.

Winds caused “great damage” to the Finnish power grid, which needs to be rebuilt in some places, Fortum said today in a statement on its website. The repairs may take days in some areas, the Espoo-based company said.

In Finland, local utility Savon Voima Oyj had 10,700 clients blacked out, Suur-Savon Saehkoe Oy reported 9,000 homes affected, while Pohjois-Karjalan Saehkoe Oy had 9,800 stricken customers.

The storm Dagmar lashed the Nordic countries with hurricane-strength winds, cutting power, damaging buildings, shutting roads and halting trains. Finland suffered from two days of strong winds, with gusts reaching 25 meters per second (56 miles per hour) yesterday and 30 meters per second on Dec. 26, the Finnish Meteorological Institute said.

Hurricane-Strength Winds

The highest average wind measured in Norway on Dec. 26 was 44.6 meters per second, with gusts reaching 64.7 meters per second, Norway’s Meteorological Institute said. All measuring stations in Norway had winds peaking at more than 32 meters per second, or hurricane strength, the institute said.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, resumed output at its Ormen Lange natural-gas field in Norway today after the storm.

Norwegian insurance companies have received 2,700 claims following the storm and thousands more are expected, a trade group for insurers said. Claims have reached 162 million kroner ($27 million) and are expected to exceed the 275 million kroner paid out after storm Berit, said Tonje Westby, a spokeswoman for Finance Norway, which manages tracking damage from natural disasters. Storm-related claims will probably exceed 1 billion kroner this year, the most since 1995, she said in a statement yesterday.

Disruptions continued on some Finnish train routes, with buses replacing the trains, state-owned railway company VR Oy said on its website. In Sweden, all closed rail lines were opened this morning, according to the Swedish Transport Administration.

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