Mobile phone networks will likely fail during blackouts

In the event of a potential power outage, people will be temporarily unable to access mobile phone networks. As it's recently turned out, the state mandated service providers to have emergency backup power supplies sufficient for a mere one hour in urban areas.

WORLD OCTOBER 11. 2022 06:31

As a consequence of the flawed energy policy and the sanctions against Russia, there is a high risk that Swedish households and businesses will be forced to enforce a planned shutdown and temporarily disconnect themselves from the electricity grid this winter. The fact that the mobile networks may also be down during the planned outages may further exacerbate the situation, according to recent warning by the authorities.

There is a real risk that some areas in Sweden will have to disconnect from the electricity grid in a planned manner in order to avoid a total blackout, the Swedish Svenska kraftnat, the operator of the national power grid, explained. The scenario may leave a small town, or an urban district, without electricity for some time this winter.

According to documents from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), citizens can expect planned power outages lasting for 2 to 4 hours, as this is the most likely scenario. The information was confirmed by Johanna Eklund, head of department at the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS). However, telecommunications service providers in cities are not prepared for such long power outages, as a regulation introduced last year requires providers to have emergency backup power in cities that would keep the network running for only one hour. In rural areas, providers must have backup power supply lasting for four hours, as specified by the regulation.

In case of a power outage lasting more than an hour, people living in urban areas cannot expect any form of mobile communication to work. What’s even worse, disruptions are likely to occur in cities even during the first hour. In big cities, even a brief power outage lasting a few minutes may cause some problems, PTS chief Mikael Ejner has said.

As V4NA had reported ealier, experts gathered by the European engineering consulting company Sweco believe that the first major problems in the event of a power outage would occur in households, because the pumps that deliver water to apartments and houses also depend on electricity.

This means that in the event of a power outage, water would initially cease to flow on the upper floors of high-rise buildings, with water availability on the lower floors stopping soon after, as the water towers will eventually run out of water,

the experts say, adding that heating systems are also dependent on electricity, which would cause serious problems in cold winter months in case of a power cut of only 1-2 days.

In case of a power cut, transport would draw to a halt in minutes. As the fuel distribution networks would surpend their operation, getting around would only be possible by foot. At night, it would be pointless to go anywhere in the absence of public lighting, the German Insurers Association (GDV) writes in a lengthier study. A breakdown in shops and stores’ security systems would pave the way for mass looting, leaving law enforcement almost powerless. As telecommunication devices don’t work during power cuts, by the time residents notify police of any incidents, the perpetrators will have fled.

Without communications devices, it would be impossible to alert the ambulance, so a sudden illness or heart attack could be fatal. If there is no electricity, many people would light a candle at home, which often leads to fires, but fire brigades could not be alerted to give timely help. However, this scenario would only be at play in case of a protracted power outage lasting days.

The association says hospitals would be in grave danger during power outages, because any failure in energy supply could lead to hundreds of deaths. In the event of a blackout, operations are at risk, respirators stop, and access to medicine storage areas is hindered. Hospitals do have emergency power generators, but it is only a matter of time before they run out.



blackout, energy crisis, energy prices, sweden