Why is there a shortage of electricity?

There are several reasons for this: 

• lack of production planning,

• unavailability of certain Belgian power plants.

• import capacities are limited by the interconnection infrastructures with the neighbouring countries.

 

When is the shortage risk highest?

The shortage risk is highest during peak demand on winter evenings (5pm-8pm). This is the time of day when it is important to reduce your consumption. 

The risk is also important when weather conditions are not favorable, for example when it is very cloudy and in the ansence of wind. Under these conditions wind turbines and solar panels do not contribute to the production of electricity.

 

Will there be power outages?

The measures put in place by the Federal Government are aimed at preventing a shortage. As a result, certain rural  and semi-urban areas across the country might be cut off for a few hours ("load shedding" principle). This measure will not affect the Brussels region, except for a part of Ukkel/Uccle.

 

What is load shedding?

The Federal Government can impose load shedding if there is an electricity shortage.

The idea is to shut down the electricity supply during the hours when demand is at its highest, i.e.:

  • between 4pm and 8pm,
  • between 11.30am and 1pm (less frequent). 

How long does load shedding last?

Two parameters mainly dictate how long load shedding lasts: firstly, the generating power and available imports and, secondly, the total estimated demand at the same time.  Load shedding is limited to three or four hours, except in exceptional circumstances.

 

Will there be deliberate power cuts in Brussels? 

The Brussels Capital Region is a densely populated area, with a significant level of economic activities and many priority clients (prisons, hospitals). There are therefore no plans to shut down the electrical power supply deliberately. Load shedding is only likely in a few streets in a district of Ukkel/Uccle (Fort-Jaco/Prince d’Orange district).

 

How can I find out whether load shedding is likely in my municipality?

Only part of the Ukkel/Uccle municipality is affected in Brussels. For the municipalities in Flanders and Wallonia, please consult the map drawn up by the federal authorities.

 

Why is part of Ukkel/Uccle affected by load shedding?

Because the Fort-Jaco/Prince d’Orange district is supplied with electricity by an Elia high voltage sub-station outside the Brussels region, at Rhode-Saint-Genèse, and more precisely in a load shedding area.

 

Why has load shedding in part of Oudergem/Auderghem been put forward as a possibility in 2014?

Only a very small part of Oudergem/Auderghem (Drève de Bonne Odeur), located on the border with the Flemish Region, was included in the load shedding plan. About fifteen houses were supplied with electricity by an Eandis station from Overijse. Sibelga adapted its network to ensure that these homes are supplied by the non load shedding area of Brussels.

 

How is load shedding notified?

Announcements will be made on radio and television 24 hours in advance. 

 

What do we do if our health, our lives or our work depend on electrical power?

  • If you need electrical power for health reasons, please contact the emergency services by dialling 112.

  • If the management of your business is located in a load shedding area, it is up to you to make alternative arrangements (suspend your activities or provide for independent electricity generation). Load shedding lasts for about the same time as a simple power cut (between 2 and 4 hours maximum). It is up to you to make alternative arrangements.

 

How does load shedding affect solar panels?

When the public transmission grid is powered off, the solar inverters automatically switch over to safe mode and disconnect from the grid by themselves.  This means that your solar panels will stop generating electricity in these circumstances.

 

What is the difference between a shortage and a blackout?

  • A shortage is a foreseeable lack of electricity.

  • A blackout is when the entire electricity grid crashes, which may be the result of an aggravated shortage or an unforeseen technical problem.

 

How long can a blackout last?

There are two possible scenarios: 

  • either the grid can be restored with the help of the grids of our neighbouring countries: in this case, the first customers have their electricity restored after four hours and the last after eight hours.
  • or the neighbouring countries are also in difficulty: in this case, the first customers have their electricity restored after ten hours and the last after 24 hours.

 

What will Brussels residents be expected to do?

Even though there will be no load shedding as such in Brussels, Brussels residents are asked like everyone else to join in the efforts to reduce electricity consumption. Through this show of solidarity, you can help prevent other areas around the country from being cut off deliberately.

 

Is there a risk of load shedding for homes at the limit of the Flemish Region?

Exceptional cases may exist here and there at the border between the Brussels-Capital Region (in the Sibelga network) and the Flemish Region (in the Eandis network). These are caused by electrical networks constructed well before the country was split into regions.

Some residential buildings in Brussels at the limit of both regions are supplied from the Eandis region and load shedding may take place at the same time as certain Flemish rural and semi-urban areas.  The contrary is also possible: Flemish apartment buildings may be connected to the Brussels network and will not therefore be subject to load shedding.

It is unfortunately impossible to identify or alter these particular cases when implementing the load shedding plan.