Will the heatwave cause a power outage in NSW tonight?

By Kelly Emmerton ·

As NSW residents attempt to cool off in the midst of the ongoing heatwave, there are concerns that the high level of energy consumption could result in blackouts across the state at around 5.30pm this evening.

Sydney temperatures are expected to hit the high 30s today, while other areas, such as Moree in the north of the state are tipped to creep into the 40s. And with everyone eager to cool off, The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), is warning that NSW’s power supply may not be able to stack up to demand this evening.

"AEMO is forecasting electricity demand to reach around 14,700 megawatts (MW), the highest ever demanded in NSW,” read a statement.

The blackout fears come after the South Australian blackouts of 2016, which left residents in the dark after a “once-in-50-years” storm. Originally blamed on the state’s high reliance on renewables, experts later defended the clean energy technology, saying that the renewable systems reacted to the storm in the way they were designed to do.

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South Australian residents seem to have ongoing troubles with their energy - not only do they pay the highest electricity bills in Australia - something that has also largely been blamed on renewable energy - but 90,000 Adelaide properties also saw another blackout last night that lasted 45 minutes.

This blackout was due to “load shedding”, which is when energy operators shut off customers’ power supply in order to reduce risk to the electricity network. Understandably, this is not an ideal situation, and AEMO said it was working with energy generators and the state government toward avoiding load shedding in NSW tonight.

The NSW blackout is predicted to happen around 5.30pm, when the state’s energy consumption is set to peek, and expected to last around two hours. But residents can do their part to minimise the effects by being savvy in their use of electricity.

NSW Energy and Utilities Minister Don Harwin said, "We encourage the community to reduce their energy use where possible."

"Turn up your air conditioners to 26 degrees, adjust fridge temperatures, switch off unused electrical appliances and turn off lights when it's safe to do so."

Mozo tips to reduce your energy usage
  • Think before you eat. Getting ready to fire up the oven for dinner? It’s a habit that can not only use a lot of energy, but can also make your whole home hotter. Instead, tonight, opt for a salad or other yummy dishes that don’t require heating.
  • Turn off the box. We know, we know, but just for tonight, try skipping your favourite TV program. Instead, turn the TV off at the wall and do something else to unwind, like reading a book, chatting with your family or playing a board game.
  • Get creative to beat the heat. Aircon and fans aren’t the only ways to stay cool in hot weather. Think outside the box tonight and try some unusual ways to stay cool, like sticking sheets in the freezer or eating spicy foods.
  • Focus on keeping yourself cool, not the room. There’s nothing like a nice chilly room on a hot evening, but tonight, it's all about smart electricity use. Instead of cooling the whole room down, which can suck up a heap of energy, focus on keeping yourself comfortable by sitting in front of a fan, wrapping yourself in a damp towel or enjoying a frozen treat or two.
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