News Analysis: Sparks have been flying for months over the continued rise in once-low Norwegian electricity prices. They are setting new records in some parts of the country almost every day, even during the summer when demand is low. has been asked to formally address a paradox dubbed the “energy crisis”.

Labor parliament speaker Masud Galahani must finally convene an extraordinary parliamentary session (before it officially opens in October) to discuss his government’s response to ever-higher electricity prices. I had to. Photo: Stortinget/Peter Mydske

“The power situation is serious,” Parliamentary President Masud Galahani told reporters after summoning parliamentarians to the first extraordinary parliamentary session in more than a decade. He claimed that his own Labor-led minority coalition and the Center Party were taking the situation seriously. ”

The meeting, scheduled for mid-September, has itself been controversial, but Labor’s Oil and Energy Minister Terje Asland said late Monday that he didn’t think parliament needed an extraordinary session. The Labor Party and the Conservative Party, along with several other parties, want Norwegian companies to seek some form of compensation from the state to offset the exorbitant electricity costs that for many companies are now more than quadrupling. I agree that I should receive Norwegian households have received compensation since last winter and will continue next year.

But parliamentary opposition continued to complain That bailout for the Norwegian company was not provided quickly enough, nor was it clear what form it would take. This has prompted Congressional leadership to ask Asland and his ministry for a time-plan for new measures aimed at providing relief. Progressive Party leader Sylvie Listhaug took the opportunity to argue that resorting to an extraordinary session would be “embarrassing” for both Earthland and the government itself.

Asland responded to Congress’ concerns with letters last week and Monday providing an “assessment of the status and outlook for the electricity situation this winter” and a “time planning direction for actions the government is taking”. He admitted that there is “uncertainty” about how Norway’s electricity supply will develop in the coming months.

Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Aasland showed earlier this summer that he was considering a new transmission line between Sande and Holmestrand, defending his ministry’s response to rising electricity prices and calling parliament’s extraordinary decision. I didn’t think a session was necessary. Photo: Olje-og Energi Departementet/Tore Sandnes Becker

However, some reservoirs overflow both in northern Norway and in some mountainous regions of western Norway, where it rains most of the summer. This raises many questions about how hydropower is managed and distributed and why electricity prices vary so much within Norway. Residents of the South receive much higher bills than those of the North, and there are even large differences between adjacent “power zones” within the Southwest of the country.

The mayor of Heuyanger, in the mountain county of Sogno au Fjordán, particularly from the government’s own Center Party, said that residents south of the fjord (including himself) paid much higher rates than residents north of the fjord. “Let’s figure it out if we can!” Østerbø Mayor Geir Helge shouted to the newspaper Doug Savisen Late last week. “Even though more electricity is produced here than ever before and it rained all summer, we still pay the highest electricity bills in the world!” Doug Savisen reported that electricity prices in southern Norway are 400 times higher than in northern Norway.

The government plan sent to parliament on Monday In September, we will increase coverage for households, assess additional support for students, identify the needs of various businesses, and “find the right measures” to help offset rising energy costs. It was also intended to “ensure the power supply” through a new “steering mechanism”. This will require electricity producers to conserve more water in reservoirs and even “limit” electricity exports if reservoirs fall below a certain level. This represents a potential reversal of previous export policies aimed at helping Europe cope with losses in gas supplies related to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Aasland said Norway’s hydropower system consists of “many types of power plants and reservoirs” from which power is “distributed in various ways” across the country. “Nevertheless, power systems are closely linked, and actions in one region can affect the power situation in another,” he wrote. will take some time, but some answers are expected this fall. A national budget to be announced in October will outline other measures aimed at higher energy savings and “more efficient consumption” by the public.

The Norwegian parliament adjourned in mid-June and won’t formally meet until early October, but must now reconvene to resolve a heated debate over electricity prices. Photo: Stortinget/Morten Brakestad

A parliamentary majority did not consider Energy Minister Asland’s response sufficient, so a special session was held to deepen the political debate in parliament. Aasland continues to argue that some protection measures are already in place, water levels in reservoirs are rising and the public needs to conserve electricity as well. Other MPs are skeptical. For example, the Conservative Party wants more and quicker details on corporate support, the Progressive Party wants to abolish taxes and electricity tariffs, and the Socialist Left (SV) and Reds want a “more political and democratic I hope that Regulations on electricity supply”, and some political parties calling for cuts in electricity exports. Greens, on the other hand, are most interested in energy conservation measures.

Some political parties, including the Greens, Labor and Oslo city government’s Conservatives, have proposed new power lines to better connect north and south supplies. They are also asked to impose maximum tariffs on electricity and halt ongoing projects to electrify Norway’s offshore oil platforms (to ensure more electricity for industries, businesses and homes on the mainland).

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has been on the defensive lately. His government has repeatedly insisted that it would “do what we can” to alleviate some of the unusually high monthly electricity bills. He has been warning for months that a harsh winter is looming, but the threat of an unprecedented power rationing in an energy-producing country like Norway is growing. It has withdrawn its previous refusal to cut power exports to Europe. Now, he suggests, they could be “limited” if the water levels in the reservoir drop below a certain level. Some political commentators see it as a way to appease government partners, as the Center Party has long criticized energy exports other than gas and oil. .

Others, including former Labor Chancellor Jens Stoltenberg, the current head of NATO, said the current high electricity bills were paid by Norwegians, most Europeans, and people around the world after Russia invaded Ukraine. On the other hand, Ukrainians pay a much higher price for life and misery every day. Some believe that Norwegians should stop complaining, simply seeing the high prices and the need to save energy as part of Norwegian and European support for Ukraine.

The power line supplies electricity throughout Norway. For example, here at the western end of Crokskogen in County Buskeroo. Photo: Møst

Debate over Norwegian electricity prices and how to bring them down again is also raging within business, industry and the media, with several major players disagreeing on what the country’s role should be. I’m here. Some giants, such as Elkem and Norsk Hydro, are at odds over what is needed and even whether the state should take bailouts.

newspaper editorial Aftenposten When Doug Savisen The government and parliament unusually agreed that they needed to be careful about providing undue support to those who complained. Doug Savisen, for households and businesses to “seek help from wealthy nations.” Compensation paid out during the corona crisis received widespread support, largely because states had to order closures and compensate for the losses they caused, but now states say they shouldn’t help much. I warned you. The Welfare State: “There is an energy crisis going on and we all have to adapt to it while we live as before without expecting our home country to bear all the extra costs. The paper also argued that electrification of offshore oil platforms “must continue” for climatic reasons, and that energy conservation measures should be a top priority.

Others note high electricity bills and inflation. Also, being established in Norway reflects the price that must be paid in a free market society. It was headlined ‘Businesses should pay their own electricity bills’ Aftenposten Editorial on the issue of the weekend. Norway’s economy has remained strong through both the corona crisis and the war, with the paper arguing that the National Employers’ Organization (NHO), which represents businesses, should generally limit the use of state funds. I am paying attention to the fact that

“But clearly not if it benefits the company.” Aftenposten edit. “A nation is formed by people, not by firms operating within a market. Most firms are also able to pass on costs to their customers. At times, we need to be very careful about resuming state aid.”

It was written before Congress even got involved. Aftenposten It recommended that power compensation be limited to providing state-guaranteed loans for the most struggling businesses. Berglund

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