Spring forward: European grid fixes lag that slowed clocks

BERLIN — One excuse fewer for being late: electricity grid operators in Europe have fixed a glitch that had slowed down countless clocks across the continent for months.

The problem started earlier this year after a dispute between Serbia and Kosovo resulted in energy being diverted from the local grid. That triggered a domino effect , reducing the electric frequency across the 25-country network that stretches from Portugal to Poland, and Greece to Germany.

Because many radio alarms, oven clocks and devices used to program heating systems keep time with the help of the grid frequency, they were slowed down by several minutes since January.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity said Tuesday that its members added energy into the system over the course of March to bring the frequency back to its target average of 50 Hertz.

"One of the effects is notably that the digital clocks geared by electric frequency are now back on time," said spokeswoman Claire Camus.

The industry group said it would continue to support Serbia and Kosovo in finding a solution to their energy dispute, which is part of a wider disagreement between the two neighbors that goes back almost 20 years.

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