Winter is upon us here in Bulgaria
The weather this winter has been unpredictable, to say the least. We had two lots of heavy snow leading to widespread power cuts. Villages and rural areas have been worse affected. Some families have been left without power for over 24 hours. The last weekend of November proved to be the worst so far. All three electricity distribution companies have declared major incidents affecting their networks. Heavy snow combined with broken trees damaged electricity cables across the country.
First of all, what is the grid?
Three major energy companies are operating in Bulgaria. Electricity distribution network “WEST”, serving customers in Sofia, Blagoevgrad, Kyustendil, Pernik, Pleven, Lovech, Montana, Vratsa, and Vidin. The distribution network “SOUTH” is part of EVN Group. They deliver electricity to Burgas, Kardzhali, Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Sliven, Smolyan, Stara Zagora, Haskovo and Yambol. And distribution network “NORTH”, part of Energo-Pro, operates in the following cities: Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Dobrich, Razgrad, Ruse, Silistra, Targovishte and Shumen.
All three companies have an online presence, where customers can keep up-to-date with planned and unplanned outages, and power cuts.
- West – https://info.ermzapad.bg/webint/vok/avplan.php
- North – https://erpsever.bg/en/planned-outages
- South – https://www.elyug.bg/Customers/Unscheduled-power-cuts.aspx
Our own experience on the grid
For good or bad, we in Move2Bulgaria get our electricity from the grid. Our house is connected to the distribution network “WEST” part of Electrohold. They are not known for great customer service. We were left without electricity for over 24 hours, between the 25th and 26th of November. And yet there was no mention of a partial refund when the bill came in a couple of weeks later. Power cuts affect our daily lives in many ways.
For example, working from home is only possible with access to the internet and a working Wi-Fi router. However, this is the least of our worries. Our pellet stove needs about 450 W of power to run. It has a water jacket and heats water for all the radiators in the house. Similarly, if you heat your house with air conditioners, you will be left in the cold when there is an outage. We got to the point of considering the option of a backup power source.
Inverter generator to the rescue
A colleague of mine shared his struggles with unreliable energy supply and the obvious option for both of us was to purchase an inverter generator. It is a dependable power supply that you can rely on. It could come in handy for outdoor activities away from home, as well as for the occasional emergency use. The most common type of generator has a 4-stoke engine, which runs on petrol. The maximum output (in Watts) one can provide varies from 1 kw up to 10 kw or more. Other things to consider, include the sound pressure level. For example, the Honda EU 22i model generates 71 dB of operational noise. While the inverter technology smooths the output to safely power your devices. A 2200-watt device can power one of the following combinations: a fridge and a microwave (500w + 800w), a kettle and a TV (650w + 250w), and so on. For a price comparison website go to: https://www.mashini.bg/benzinovi-monofazni-generatori.
Off the grid with the Udens
Last but not least, I would like to make a special mention. The word off-grid in Bulgaria has become a synonym with this lovely family and their popular YouTube channel “Off the Grid with the Udens”. The couple, Phil and Kayleigh, successfully juggle responsibilities from looking after their kids to renovating a rundown property in the south of Bulgaria. Subscribe to their channel and follow them as they transform 2 acres of land, a derelict house, and 3 barns into their off-grid homestead. After leaving England with no savings they have the aim of becoming debt-free, completing all of the work themselves in a tiny budget.
Here you can see their DIY episode on solar from start to finish. Enjoy!