Widespread Victoria power outages have plunged approximately half a million customers across Victoria into darkness, as electricity companies scramble to investigate the cause and restore services. Some Victorians face the possibility of being without power for several days.
The crisis was triggered today when a critical link in the transmission network went offline around 2 pm, local time, followed by Loy Yang A, one of the state’s few remaining coal-fired power stations, tripping and shutting down all four units. It’s suspected that at least two transmission towers collapsed from extreme weather conditions.
CITIPOWER has provided a map showcasing the recent Victoria power outages and at the time of writing, there are over 20 cases.
Weather blamed for Victoria power outages
Minister for Energy Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, is in consultation with the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) regarding the impact of the severe weather on Victoria’s power grid. Wholesale power prices spiked dramatically throughout the afternoon. In Victoria, prices soared to $16,600 per megawatt hour, contrasting dramatically against prices in Queensland ($29.61) and NSW ($286.97).
To prevent further system strain, AEMO implemented load shedding, briefly impacting around 90,000 customers. While supply has been restored, thousands remain without power. AGL has indicated that one unit of the Loy Yang A power station will remain offline, with others coming back online throughout the evening as transmission line issues are fixed.
Power companies across the state are battling Victoria power outages are:
- United Energy (Melbourne’s south-east and the Mornington Peninsula): Reports almost 51,000 customers offline
- AusNet: Reports 43,000 affected customers
- Citipower and Powercor: Report a combined 107,000 customers facing blackouts
Citipower and Powercor spokesperson Emma Tyner explains that a potent combination of high temperatures, damaging winds, and lightning strikes is wreaking havoc on the electrical infrastructure. Some customers may endure the outages for days while restoration efforts continue.
Calls for local energy production
The massive Victoria power outages underscore the growing vulnerability of Victoria’s electricity system. Bruce Mountain, director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre, warns, “our electrical system is pretty precarious” and that the situation is “quite worrying”.
He emphasizes the need for greater local energy production to reduce reliance on long-distance, weather-vulnerable transmission lines.
Businesses hit hard
Businesses also feel the severe impact of the Victoria power outages. According to ABC News’ report, Amber Henderson, owner of Misty Hills Café at Neerim South, describes the difficulties and disruptions brought on by the sudden blackout during lunch service. These impacts ripple through their community, as staff face lost wages and potential food spoilage becomes a risk.
How can I check if there’s a power cut in my area?
Here’s how you can check for power cuts in your area:
1. Your electricity distributor’s website
Each region has specific electricity distributors. Search online for your area’s distributor.
Their website usually has a dedicated outage map, a report-an-outage form, and real-time updates about the status of outages.
2. Social media
Power companies frequently post updates and information about outages on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media platforms. Check their pages for real-time updates.
3. Government emergency websites
Local or state government emergency websites may report major power outages within the area.
4. The official “105” power cut line
In many regions, the number 105 is available. This puts you through to your area’s network operator who handles power outages.
As for Victoria power outages, citizens can use the sites below to check if the outage in your area is something officials are aware of or not:
Featured image credit: pvproductions/Freepik.