German disaster office apologises for creating power cut panic

German disaster office apologises for creating power cut panic

Germany’s Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BKK) has apologised after a representative said that local blackouts were likely across the country in January and February 2023. 

Local blackouts unlikely in Germany

The BKK apologised after representative Ralph Tiesler said that shortages of energy were likely to cause local and temporary blackouts across Germany in the first months of 2023.

Speaking the the newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Tiesler said that people in Germany should anticipate “a regional and temporary interruption of the power supply” in January and February. Such blackouts would be caused by operators deciding to temporarily shut down energy networks in an attempt to protect the whole grid, said Tiesler. 

Since this statement a BKK spokesperson has clarified that it is "unlikely that temporary forced shutdowns will occur regionally to ensure overall supply,” adding that the organisation regretted Tiesler’s “misleading wording”.

Government reassures population about electricity shortages

Following Tiesler’s statement, some German politicians felt the need to reassure people about the kind of impact a power cut would have.

While a power cut in Germany would definitely mean having to light some candles, gather blankets and forget all electronic entertainment, it would not necessarily mean disaster. It is standard practice for emergency services, fire brigades, hospitals and care facilities to have emergency power generators.

Germany’s Green Party also warned against widespread panic. In an interview with Handelsblatt, Greens executive secretary Irene Mihalic said, “In the case that regional and temporary power cuts do happen, we have to counter them with the relevant preparations. There is no need to cause panic.”

In response to Tiesler's comments, Germany’s Federal Network Agency (BNA) also made further attempts to reassure people. Speaking to the Funke-Mediengruppe, a spokesperson pointed out that “the country has one of the world’s most reliable power supply systems.” In the event of a blackout the EU has also prepared a number of emergency plans.

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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