Thousands left without power following Finland storms

Thousands in several areas across Finland still have no electricity following heavy storms that battered the country last week, bringing down trees and power lines in the days leading up to the New Year.

The south-western Salo region was the worst hit, while Ostrobothnia continues to experience problems, as does Kirkkonummi and Espoo, farther south. Officials said as many as 200,000 households have been affected by the intense storms following Christmas, especially those with roofing composed of sheet metal due to wind speeds of up to 30 metres per second.

Repair work and restoration of power to all areas is taking longer than expected, energy utility firm Fortum reports. The company’s customer relations head, Timo Jutila, told Helsingin Sanomat, “The repair work has lasted longer with us than with other distributors because the terrain is very difficult”.

The comments come following heavy criticism of Fortum by government officials. Jyri Hakamies has called on utility bodies to be better prepared ahead of storms and said that the process in which electrical lines are buried underground needs to be speeded up.

Power is back online in many areas, however. Crews were recently able to restore electricity in Siikajärvi, Espoo, almost five days after it was taken out by strong winds.