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NSW power: Blackouts across the state averted, energy operator says

By Dom Vukovic and Penny Evans, Friday February 10, 2017 - 22:00 EDT
ABC image
The network's tight supply conditions had "subsided" and the "worst has passed". - ABC

New South Wales has avoided enforced power blackouts on a day where the state's heatwave sent electricity demands soaring to record highs.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) confirmed in a statement that the network's tight supply conditions had "subsided" and the "worst has passed".

On Thursday, the AEMO" like the ones in South Australia the day before, which saw power to 90,000 homes cut in Adelaide to protect a struggling power network.

On Friday the AEMO confirmed that forced blackouts had not been required because residents had followed advice to reduce their electricity usage during the peak demand periods between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin thanked residents who reduced their electricity usage to help networks remain functional.

"This is an extraordinary heatwave, and a day of record demand," he said.

"It took all households and businesses moderating their use."

Meanwhile, energy company Ausgrid reported that a power outage affecting 11,000 customers in the Sydney suburbs of Burwood and Strathfield was a network fault and not related to the heatwave.

The state was this weekend, as well as potentially catastrophic fire conditions.

People have been urged to stay out of the heat as much as possible and ensure they stay well hydrated.

Smelter powered down to save electricity

The record-high electricity demands forced AGL Energy to cut power to a large aluminium smelter in the state's Hunter Valley in order to avoid mass electricity blackouts across the state.

The Tomago aluminium smelter near Newcastle consumes 10 per cent of the state's electricity.

AGL said that if power to the smelter had not been cut, there would have been electricity cuts to schools, businesses and homes across NSW.

Mr Harwin thanked electricity companies and the renewable energies sector for playing a significant role in staving off the need to enforce blackouts across the state.

"I want to thank all the NSW electricity generators and their workforces gas, coal, hydro, wind and solar," he said.

"Plenty of wind power generation coming in from the wind turbines along the great dividing range.

"It's the biggest day ever for solar."

Mr Harwin also announced that he would establish an Energy Security Taskforce to better manage the impact of extreme weather on energy security.


© ABC 2017

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