Households are becoming more sustainable faster than grid manager Alliander can handle. Nevertheless, the company continues to distribute new connections in residential areas, it reports on Thursday, with possible “voltage problems” as a result. “This varies from not being able to feed back solar energy for a short time to flashing lights in the house.”
It has been the case for some time that companies had to wait for a power connection due to the shortage on the electricity grid, but now consumers can also be affected. An Alliander spokesman cannot yet say how many households are affected and how often they will experience power cuts. “We now see it occurring in a few houses, but it is expected to increase in the coming years.” It often happens that solar panels cannot feed power back to the grid.
The fact that energy prices have risen sharply due to the war in Ukraine has further encouraged households to switch away from gas or install solar panels. In addition, the number of electric cars has tripled in two and a half years, writes Alliander. All these developments put pressure on the power grid: the grid operator received more than 43,000 requests for a heavier electricity connection last year, twice as many as in 2020.
“It is very double,” says the spokesperson. On the one hand, Alliander is pleased that consumers are working so hard to become more sustainable, on the other hand, the company cannot keep up with them. In the coming years, 20,000 new electricity houses must be built, and one in three streets must be broken up to lay new cables. A tough task, even without staff and material shortages.
Alliander advises consumers to spread their power consumption as much as possible, so that the grid is under less load at peak times. “So don’t turn on all devices at once when you come home from work. It sounds difficult, but there are more and more smart devices that control it without you realizing it.”
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A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of March 10, 2023