Europe’s clocks keeping time again after bizarre power grid spat

A disagreement between Kosovo and Serbia meant that mains-connected clocks on mainland Europe were running as much as six minutes late. [Shutterstock]

Europe’s digital clocks are “back on time” after its power operators compensated for a shortfall in the continent’s electricity grid because of a row between Serbia and Kosovo, the operators said Tuesday (3 April).

The power grid operators association ENTSO-E said in early March the row had affected the grid’s electric frequency since mid-January and caused clocks for radio alarms, ovens and heating systems to run several minutes late.

“The Continental Europe transmission system operators carried out a collective compensation programme to restore the situation back to normal,” Brussels-based ENTSO-E said Tuesday in a statement.

“The digital clocks geared by electric frequency are now back on time,” it added.

ENTSO-E said it will “continue to support all parties” in a bid to achieve a lasting end to the energy dispute between Serbia and Kosovo.

Serbia’s electrical power grid company EMS AD, tasked with balancing the Kosovo grid, blamed the missing power on Kosovo withdrawing without permission “uncontracted” energy from the synchronised European grid.

Kosovo operator KOSTT complained of an “imbalance in the system” when it supplied electricity at a loss to minority Serbs in northern Kosovo who refuse to recognise the ethnic Albanian authorities.

Serbia has refused to recognise its former breakaway province since it declared independence in 2008 and tries to block its attempt to join UN and various international organisations, including ENTSO-E.

Both are seeking to join the European Union.

The Brief – Time Bandits

Europe has fallen victim to a stunning heist since the beginning of the year, where our most precious and valuable asset has been stolen: time itself.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe