Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Another Italian Puzzle

A recent post revealed little-known oddities about assorted countries. Here's another one - Italy has a Black Hole in its electrical power consumption.

The WSJ (subscription) reports continental Europeans are facing demand-driven electricity supply problems. Italy caught my attention - its consumers are allowed pathetic amounts of power and yet as a nation it consumes almost as much per capita as the UK.

John Mortimer's novel "Summer's Lease" has a list of instructions for renters of a Tuscan villa which includes the warning:

"In order to use the hair dryer, you must first disconnect the refrigerator".

Which is almost true - all of the Italian places we've stayed at in the past years had a maximum supply of 3 Kilowatts. By comparison, our house in Virginia had 44 Kilowatts, and our previous place in in England had 24 Kilowatts.

The CIA factbook for Italy shows its 2003 per capita electricity consumption to be only 10% less than the UK.

What are the Italians doing with all that power?