EU Calls For Unified Energy Policy Following Blackouts

Blackouts in Germany, France, Italy and Spain on Nov. 4.

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs called on Nov. 6 for European Union countries to harmonize their energy policies following blackouts in western Europe over the weekend. "These incidents show, once again, that events in one part of Europe impact on other parts and again confirm the need for a proper European energy policy," he said.

A surge on Nov. 4 in electricity demand in Germany due to cold weather triggered blackouts in some parts of the country but also in France, Italy and Spain. A number of the power cuts lasted for around 30 minutes.

Europe's energy grids frequently come under pressure from excessive demand during periods of extreme cold or heat, forcing electricity companies to take special measures."Whilst these blackouts lasted for relatively short periods of time, they are unacceptable," Piebalgs said. "Energy security is better delivered through a common European approach rather than 27 different approaches." He said that he asked Europe's Transmission System Operators (ETSO) to quickly pinpoint the cause of the problem and draw up measures to ensure that it does not happen again.

Piebalgs also said that he wanted to set up a "mechanism" to ensure that these and other energy security standards, to be drawn up by a working group, are made binding on electricity network operators.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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