Bloomberg News

Storm Dagmar Cuts Power, Causes Damage Across Nordic Region

December 28, 2011

(Updates with homes affected from second paragraph.)

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The storm Dagmar lashed the Nordic countries with Hurricane-strength winds, cutting power and Norwegian natural-gas exports as it damaged buildings, shut roads and halted train traffic.

About 264,500 homes in Finland, Sweden and Norway were without electricity as utilities such as Vattenfall AB worked to restore power after the storm yesterday toppled trees and damaged lines, according to estimates today by companies and grid operators.

In Finland, the number of those blacked out has increased as winds have picked up again, leaving 190,500 customers at Fortum Oyj, Vattenfall and Savon Voima Oyj without electricity, the utilities said. Some failures may last for days, Fortum said. In Sweden, about 44,000 homes were without power as of 2:33 p.m., according to a compilation from the three-largest utilities, including Vattenfall and EON AG.

The storm is causing the worst outages since the Janika storm in November 2001, said Heini Kuusela-Opas, a spokeswoman for Vattenfall in Finland, by phone today.

Ormen Lange Halt

About 30,000 homes were without power in Norway as of 2 p.m., grid operator Statnett SF said in a statement. Statoil ASA, Norway’s largest oil company, reduced staffing on its offshore oil platforms over the weekend while maintaining production, Stavanger Aftenblad reported yesterday, citing Baard Glad Pedersen, a company spokesman.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Ormen Lange natural gas field was operating at 50 megawatt power out of a capacity of 200 megawatts, the Nord Pool power exchange said late yesterday in a statement, citing grid disruptions. A Shell spokesman, who declined to be identified by name, said by phone today that the company is now increasing gas exports after a halt.

The highest average wind measured in Norway was 44.6 meters per second (100 miles per hour), with gusts reaching 64.7 meters per second, Norway’s Meteorological Institute said. All measuring stations had winds peaking at more than 32 meters per second, or hurricane strength, the institute said. Gusts exceeded 30 meters per second at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport yesterday, the Finnish Meteorological Institute said.

Trains Canceled

Finns in the southeastern and southern parts of the country, including the capital Helsinki, were told by the police to stay indoors during the storm. In Sweden, train traffic in the middle and northern parts of the country was halted and smaller, local roads were temporarily closed.

Train traffic in much of northern Sweden was expected to restart earlier today after being canceled on Christmas Day, according to the Swedish Transport Administration. Buses are replacing some train traffic in Finland, train operator VR said.

Fortum will pay as much as 700 euros ($915) in compensation to each customer who has been without power for 12 hours or more, the company said. It has also moved workers from less affected areas to help fix the damage.

Vattenfall expects to pay as much as 900 kronor ($131) in compensation for Swedish customers with a failure of 12 hours to 24 hours, said Magnus Kryssare, a spokesman at the Stockholm- based utility.

Cost Estimates

About 500 damage claims have been filed to Norwegian insurers, a number that will probably rise “significantly” in coming weeks, Finance Norway, which coordinates claims from natural disasters, said in a statement yesterday. Claims will probably exceed the 275 million kroner ($46 million) paid after the storm Berit, Tonje Westby, the group’s spokeswoman, said in the statement. Storm-related claims may top 1 billion kroner this year, the most since 1995, she said.

Finnish insurers are compiling cost estimates, Risto Karhunen, head of loss prevention and security at the Federation of Finnish Financial Services, said by phone. Yesterday’s storm may have caused extensive damage because it covered the entire southern part of the country, he said. In comparison, four local storms in 2010 caused insurers to pay out about 100 million euros in claims, he said.

--With assistance from Kim McLaughlin in Stockholm and Stephen Treloar in Oslo, Editors: Jonas Bergman, Kim McLaughlin

To contact the reporter on this story: Kati Pohjanpalo in Helsinki at kpohjanpalo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net


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