Europe is living in the past (by nearly six minutes) thanks to Serbia and Kosovo
Continental electric clocks go TITSUP*
Electric timekeepers in Europe have been losing minutes due to power frequency deviations arising from a dispute between Serbia and Kosovo.
The snappily titled European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) spotted a deviation in power from the control area called Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro (SMM block), and called out Kosovo and Serbia in particular.
113GWh is apparently MIA, resulting in a drop in frequency, which in turn caused electric clocks to run slowly. ENTSO-E reckons the delay is close to six minutes.
Unlike clocks that use the vibrations of a quartz crystal, a mains-powered clock uses the 50Hz power frequency of Europe to keep track of time.
Even slight changes in the frequency can make clocks run slow or fast over time. In this case, the average frequency since January was 49.996Hz.
Power network nerds can keep an eye on the current frequency here.
A drop in the frequency means that less power was going into the grid than was expected. And ENTSO-E wants that power back.
The deviation has now stopped, but compensation for the missing power has yet to occur.
ENTSO-E are in discussions with the European Commission on how to stop squabbles between Serbia and Kosovo making the clocks slow in the future.
David Lavender, from the UK National Grid, confirmed that the UK was not affected by the continental shenanigans despite being connected to France and the Netherlands.
The team at the Wokingham systems operation centre have tools to maintain the 50Hz frequency independently of their European counterparts.
Some might call that "taking back control". ®
*Time Is Terribly Slow Until Pub