A power outage affected an area from Kirkjubæjarklaustur in South Iceland and eastwards to Vopnafjörður in Northeast Iceland for about two hours this morning, RÚV reports. The root of the problem was traced to a leakage in an aluminum smelting pot at the Grundartangi aluminum plant of Norðurál in West Iceland.
The effects of the outage were widespread: Power had to be reduced on the aluminum smelting pots of Alcoa’s aluminum smelter in Reyðarfjörður, the East Fjords. Cheese production was disrupted in Egilsstaðir, as was production at the fish processing plants of Síldarvinnslan in Neskaupstaður and Seyðisfjörður. The Icelandic Coast Guard was unable to monitor fishing boats in a large area.
The power failure began at 7 am, and repairs had been completed in most of the affected areas by 9 am.
Auður Ingólfsdóttir, director of the Icelandair Hotel in Egilsstaðir, reported that breakfast was not quite ready in time for guests who were checking out when the power failure occurred. She said drivers were concerned about where to get gas. The computer system was down, making payments more complicated.
Guðmundur Ingi Ásmundsson, CEO of the electrical utility company Landsnet, remarked, “In fact, this is one more thing to confirm that Byggðalínan [a major part of the electricity grid] is way too weak, and it’s in fact unacceptable that a disruption of a major power user in the southwest would have such a widespread effect.”