Ghent mayor finds brownout plan “unfair”

Summary

Daniel Termont, the mayor of Ghent, took to VRT radio to complain about the effect of the brownout plan on his city’s port, while the port of Antwerp goes untouched

Port of Gent will go dark

Ghent mayor Daniel Termont has complained that the federal government’s plan for switching off power to certain zones if demand should exceed supply this winter is “unfair” because Ghent has more chance of being affected than other cities, such as Antwerp.

According to the plan released last week, Belgium is divided into six zones depending on population and electricity consumption. If power needs to be turned off in a controlled power cut, known as a brownout, it will be done one zone at a time, in the early evening, for no longer than three hours. The zones will take turns for brownouts.

A large part of Ghent, including the economically vital port area (pictured), lies in zone six, which will be the first to switch off should need be. Some other cities, Termont complains, are not listed for a brownout at all.

“I note that not a single light has to go out in the port of Antwerp, while the whole of the port of Ghent will be shut down,” he said on VRT radio. “No-one in Antwerp will be affected, while 70,000 people in Ghent are sitting in the dark. There may be a valid explanation for this, and, if so, I’d like to hear it.”

The plan was drawn up to cope with the possibility of power shortages this winter, caused by the closure of the nuclear power facility Doel 4 due to a lead, which, according to authorities, was deliberate sabotage. Two other power plants in Belgium, including one at Doel, East Flanders, are already closed for repairs.

Meanwhile, two out of three people in Flanders have already approached their municipal authorities for information about the brownout plan, with one in four taking practical measures in the event of a brownout, according to a poll carried out by Ivox. 

Daniel Termont, the mayor of Ghent, took to VRT radio to complain about the effect of the brownout plan on his city’s port, while the port of Antwerp goes untouched.

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