Sweden’s electricity shortage has TV station telling viewers to avoid vacuuming

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As Sweden grapples with electricity shortages, Sweden’s SVT television station advises Swedes not to vacuum during the weekend due to the lack of electricity. 

According to SVT, the reason behind the electricity shortage in the country is the cold weather. At the same time, the Holmen forestry company decided to shut down parts of its production over the electricity price, Nyheter Idag reports.

However, the operations manager of Svenska kraftnät, the electricity transmission system operator, Pontus de Maré, believes that the higher electricity price is good for the environment and shows that the market works.

“Of course, it is difficult, but there are bigger problems. The climate, for example. Before you start the vacuum cleaner, you can think. Do you have to clean today when it is so cold?” said SVT economic and climate reporter Johan Zachrisson Winberg in the feature, in which he advised against vacuuming.

SVT justified its advice partly with an economic reason, specifically, the skyrocketing price of electricity due to power shortages. However, SVT also argued with climate policy, pointing out that the oil power plant in Karlshamn started operating while Sweden imports coal power from Germany and Poland.

“In the coldest days, there is a reason to stay away from the vacuum cleaner. To avoid the expensive electricity powered by lignite electricity from Germany or Poland,” said Zachrisson Winberg to SVT’s viewers.

On Friday, the Holmen forestry company closed down large parts of its paper mills in Braviken and Hallstavik due to the high electricity price.

“We are watching the market with our hands on the handbrake. And if the calculation doesn’t add up, we have to close. This week, we operated at half speed,” said Holmen CEO Henrik Sjölund.

Pontus de Maré, operations manager at Svenska kraftnät, told SVT that the shutdown of industries such as Holmen shows that the market works.

“The price follows control signals. It shows that the electricity market works. And so far, we have not had a shortage, and we have been able to supply electricity to everyone who needs it,” said de Maré, who also believes that the higher electricity price is good for the environment, as it leads to industries shutting down and people halting their vacuuming habits at certain times.

“When demand is at its highest, it is good that the price signals move forward so that we consume less,” added de Maré.

“It is also good for the environment, and it is good if even ordinary consumers do not run vacuum cleaners and dishwashers during the busiest hours, which are around 7 to 8 in the morning, and in the evening when they get home from work,” Maré continued.

However, on Twitter, many found it difficult to see the positive in the electricity shortage. One Twitter user, Katerina Janouch, recalls how the spokesperson for the environmental policy Lorentz Tovatt accused the right-wing of leading “scare propaganda” about the energy market.

Another viral post demanded Sweden restart of the shut down nuclear power reactors Ringhals 1 and 2.

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