Published 28.09.2022

The RESPA 22 exercise will test the Helsinki Metropolitan Area’s preparedness for severe electricity supply failures

This week, an exercise will be held in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area to practice cooperation between businesses and authorities in the event of severe interruptions in the electricity supply. The RESPA 22 exercise to be held between 28 and 29 September 2022 is the final event in a series of six events held throughout Finland.

Companies, homes and other functions of society are dependent on the uninterrupted availability of electricity. However, interruptions may occur as a result of weather phenomena, cyber attacks, carelessness, ignorance or accidents. These interruptions may be wide in scope and their impacts may persist for a long time.

The RESPA 22 exercise will involve the energy companies and authorities in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area practising cooperation in the event of an extensive and long-term failure of the main grid and distribution networks. In the exercise, an imagined interruption caused by weather will paralyse the metropolitan area’s basic social functions in the distribution areas of Helen Sähköverkko Oy, Vantaan Energia Sähköverkot Oy and Caruna Oy.

In the exercise scenario, a sequence of events initiated by the failure of transfer connections in Northern Finland, in conjunction with severe weather phenomena and the malfunctions of basic production facilities, leads to an electricity shortage and a resulting large-scale emergency.

The aim is to improve the operational capabilities of authorities, cities and companies in the event of a severe electricity supply failure. Other objectives are to secure and develop operating models and the usability of various technologies and IT systems in resolving the situation. The exercise will chart the functionality of cooperation and communication systems between authorities and industrial operators during a long-term power outage in the context of the repair efforts conducted by energy companies and the procedures to restore power. Particular attention will be paid to the efficiency of communications within companies and to external interest groups. The operational capabilities of cities in extraordinary situations will also be tested.

Persistent preparedness efforts help tackle emergency situations

Russia’s attack on Ukraine starting in early 2022 has initiated a sequence of events that is driving our society towards serious challenges with the availability of energy. It is possible that the coming winter will bring us face-to-face with real-life electricity shortages.

“Long-term practice and preparedness efforts in the energy sector within the framework of the National Emergency Supply Organisation will help society at large to prepare for extraordinary circumstances, such as shortages in electricity,” says Arto Pahkin of Fingrid, who will lead the exercise.

The series of JÄÄTYVÄ exercises held throughout Finland was kicked off in the Kuopio region in 2017. The RESPA 22 exercise in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is the sixth and final one, which will end the series of exercises relating to electricity distribution. More than 400 people from organisations critical to the security of supply will take part in the exercise and its preparations. All in all, almost 3,000 people have taken part in the series of exercises.

The RESPA 22 exercise will be organised by the National Emergency Supply Organisation’s Electricity Pool and the National Emergency Supply Agency. The partners invited to participate in the exercise are Fingrid Oyj; Helen Sähköverkko Oy; Vantaan Energia Sähköverkot Oy; Caruna Oy; the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa; regional rescue services; the Prime Minister’s Office; Yle and other regional authorities and businesses, such as telecommunications companies.

The National Emergency Supply Organisation’s Electricity Pool is one of four pools in energy sector. It coordinates the company-specific preparation and preparedness efforts of power management, i.e. the production, transfer and distribution of electricity.