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Balkan countries suffer blackouts amid major heatwave

June 21, 2024

The first heatwave of the year in Southern Europe caused a spike in electricity use, leading to power cuts reported across Albania, Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro.

Cars pile up at a junction with Out-of-action traffic lights in Split, Croatia
The blackout affected traffic lights in Split, CroatiaImage: Ivo Cagalj/PIXSELL/IMAGO

The Balkans suffered major blackouts on Friday after temperatures approached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the region's first heatwave of the year..

Parts of Albania, Bosnia,and Croatia reported temporary outages, while almost all of Montenegro was without power for several hours.

"The malfunction occurred as a result of a heavy load on the grid, a sudden increase in power consumption due to high temperature and the high temperatures," said Montenegro's Energy Minister Sasa Mujovic.

Albanian broadcaster Top Channel TV said the regional issue was caused by an interconnector failure in Montenegro, citing unnamed sources.

A man cooling down in Ulcinj, Montenegro
Montenegro is in the midst of a major heatwaveImage: Stevo Vasiljevic/REUTERS

What was the extent of the disruptions?

Tourists in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik were left stranded around midday, with restaurants, pubs and supermarkets all closing due to the power outage.

The blackouts also caused traffic lights to stop working, leading to traffic jams in cities like Split, Croatia, and the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.

Croatia's national electricity company HEP said blackouts were caused by "an international disturbance that affected several countries."

"HEP has put all its production capacities into full operation... to ensure the supply of electricity in Croatia as soon as possible," it said.

zc/lo (AFP, AP, Reuters)