“Supply options in the city of Oranienburg have been exhausted.” With these words, Peter Grabowsky, general director of Stadtwerke Oranienburg, addressed the audience. The Federal Network Agency was also informed on Monday: the previous high-voltage grid can no longer supply enough power for the growing city. Does this mean that Germany's first city will be left without electricity?

What happened?

“The electricity needs of our growing city have increased enormously, faster than anticipated in the past,” explains Mayor Alexander Laesicke on the city's website. Expanding infrastructure as quickly is a challenge.

In addition to strong economic growth, the influx of new residents to Oranienburg and the increased installation of heat pumps caused an increase in demand for electricity.

Currently there is still electricity, the message continues. Those who already have a current electricity contract will not be affected. However, to keep this electrical network stable, municipal companies could no longer approve new registrations or increases in the performance of home connections. This applies, for example, to the connection of heat pumps. Likewise the charging infrastructure for electric cars. And: “Currently, new commercial and industrial areas cannot be connected to the grid or supplied with electricity.” The city center and the district of Sachsenhausen are affected by the bottleneck in the high-voltage grid supply.

The city has not yet completely lost electricity. But urgent action is needed to prevent it from doing so. Otherwise, new construction in the affected areas will not be possible in the coming years.

And what happens now?

Municipal services say they are working on an interim solution to eliminate the bottleneck, together with regional network operator E.dis. This should serve as a transition “until the new substation of the Oranienburg municipal company can come into operation.” Its completion is planned for 2026 and aims to ensure security of supply in Oranienburg. On Monday, city councilors allocated a total of €13.8 million for the new building in their budget resolution for the current year.

“We are working hard not to completely stop urban development, but to offer a sufficient return to our large industrial companies as well as private housebuilders,” said Mayor Laesicke.

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