Australians urged to turn off lights and appliances for two hours every evening

Main reason behind power scarcity said to be unscheduled blackouts at coal-fired power stations

Arpan Rai
Thursday 16 June 2022 14:53 BST
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Australians urged to turn off lights and appliances for two hours every evening

Australia’s energy minister has asked residents in Sydney and the New South Wales state to switch off their lights for two hours every evening to prevent power blackouts.

Australia is grappling with energy shortage woes after authorities shut down the electricity market because of unscheduled blackouts at power stations.

“We are confident we can avoid blackouts,” Chris Bowen said in Canberra on Thursday.

He told residents in a televised address that if they “have a choice about when to run certain items, don’t run them from 6 to 8 [pm]”.

Several areas are likely to suffer power blackouts during peak hours in the evening as people head back to their homes and switch on appliances.

The blackouts also coincide with reduced output from solar and wind farms in evening hours.

Authorities are making efforts to revive outputs from coal-fired generators, Mr Bowen said, adding that New South Wales residents must conserve as much electricity as possible but not for essentials like heating.

The energy minister said the main reason behind the power scarcity was unscheduled blackouts at coal-fired power stations.

Mr Bowen said a slew of coal-fired units were offline due to scheduled maintenance and unexpected faults.

He added that “everybody is working to fix that”.

Officials at the Australian Energy Market Operator said it was too soon to confirm resumption of normal operations in the market but added that power capacity reserves had improved in New South Wales.

One of the three dysfunctional units at Australia’s Bayswater coal-fired plant in New South Wales will be back online on Thursday, while another will be back on by Saturday, officials at Australia’s top power generator AGL Energy said.

The energy firm’s spokesperson said: “We’re continuing to work cooperatively with the Australian Energy Market Operator to help ensure continuity of supply.”

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese is set to host a dinner on Thursday with state leaders, and energy for the country will be on the agenda.

The leaders are set to get together for their first formal meeting with Mr Albanese on Friday after he entered office last month.

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