Grid on edge, new energy ministry notes, fearing blackouts

The newly elected conservative New Democracy government’s energy ministry fears repeats of recent blackouts experienced in Athens and Crete’s Lasithi region, in the event of protracted heatwaves, contending the grid’s powers are insufficient.

The new energy minister Costis Hatzidakis is taking every opportunity to warn that the country’s grid would find itself under severe pressure should weather conditions hit extreme situations for extended periods. Blackouts are the worst nightmare for any newly appointed energy minister.

“The grid has reached its limits,” Hatzidakis told local media over the weekend.

The system has faced additional pressure over the past few days as a result of severe storms in Halkidiki, northern Greece, which killed 7 persons.

HEDNO/DEDDIE, the operator managing the mainland’s distribution network, has decreased its investments by 39 percent over the past three years.

The operator is also believed to be severely understaffed, in terms of technical personnel, and short of spare parts needed for the grid’s security. These factors have contributed to delays in repair work, new connections and required upgrades of old infrastructure.