Massive Power Outage Hits Balkan States Amid Heatwave


PODGORICA: A major power outage struck Montenegro, Bosnia, Albania, and most of Croatia’s coast on Friday, severely disrupting businesses, shutting down traffic lights, and leaving residents without air conditioning during a heatwave.

Montenegro’s energy minister attributed the shutdown to a sudden surge in power consumption caused by the extreme heat. The interconnected power distribution systems across the Balkans facilitate transfers and trading, making the region vulnerable to such disruptions. “This was just waiting to happen in this heat,” said Gentiana, a 24-year-old student in Podgorica.

The blackout, which began around 1 pm (1100 GMT), affected electricity and wifi networks, with operators starting to restore supply by mid-afternoon. The outage led to traffic standstills in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, and Mostar as temperatures soared to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

In Podgorica, water pumps ceased operation, air conditioners shut down, and ice cream melted in tourist shops. The Croatian coastal city of Split experienced traffic gridlock, and ambulance sirens were heard throughout the city, reported state TV HRT.

Montenegro’s energy minister, Sasa Mujovic, explained that the failure resulted from a heavy load on the network due to high temperatures. Albanian Energy Minister Belinda Balluku noted a breakdown in an interconnector between Albania and Greece, affecting Montenegro, parts of Croatia, and Bosnia. Early analysis suggested that the large volumes of power in the transmission system and record high temperatures created the technical issue, Balluku added.

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