Rolling blackouts warning as big heat hits
POWER chiefs have warned that rolling blackouts could start as early as 3.30pm in NSW and the ACT but they will strive to avoid cutting electricity to critical infrastructure such as hospitals or major shopping centres.
New advice from the Australian Energy Market Operator has warned that rolling blackouts could start early afternoon.
"Whether load shedding is required depends on a combination of factors during the forecast evening peak demand period, including electricity consumption levels, weather temperatures and supply availability," a statement from the AEMO said.
The Australian Energy Market Operator is forecasting a record demand for power in NSW
"Load shedding arrangements vary from state to state, but the objective of rotational load shedding is to minimise the impact on any one group of customers.
"Sometimes rotational load shedding is not an option - for example, if the supply-demand balance changes rapidly, then load shedding can happen almost instantly.
"If consumers can safely reduce their electricity consumption during periods of high demand, this can ease the supply/demand balance and can mitigate the need for load shedding."
Meanwhile, Energy Minister Don Harwin has encouraged sweaty residents to save energy by turning the air con up to 26C, adjusting fridge temperatures, switching off unused electrical appliances and turning off lights where it's safe to do so.
"The NSW government is doing everything we can to ensure a power outage is avoided but we encourage the community to reduce their energy use where possible," Mr Harwin said.
The Australian Energy Market Operator is forecasting a record demand for power in NSW on Friday reaching 14,700 megawatts.
Demand will likely peak between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.
Electricity demand could jump by 50 per cent in western Sydney, according to Endeavour Energy, which will place emergency crews on stand-by in case of network faults.
The Minister also lashed the impact of other states' electricity policies on NSW, saying some have "not made our job easier".
Mr Harwin urged NSW residents battling the heat to "stay positive" as authorities work to ensure the lights stay on.
South Australia is in the spotlight after embarrassing blackouts that have returned attention to the state's use of renewable power sources and their overall contribution to the mix.
Mr Harwin said NSW was affected by what happens interstate.
"The fact is we have a national energy market," he told ABC radio.
"What happens here in NSW is connected to what happens to the rest of eastern Australia. Governments in NSW have done their best to make sure we have a quality base-load power supply.
"But of late there have been decisions taken in surrounding states that have not made our job easier and that's what we've got to cope with."
Ausgrid has cancelled scheduled maintenance work in the Hunter Valley and other areas forecast to reach 40C or higher.
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has urged residents in bushfire-prone areas to have evacuation plans in place and to keep track of the organisation's website or the Fire Near Me app for updates.
"If the forecast eventuates we're likely to see catastrophic fire danger develop in some areas including the Hunter," he said.
The weather bureau is predicting 39C in the city and 45C in the west on Saturday with lower maximums likely on Sunday.
NSW Health has advised people to stay hydrated, limit physical activity, avoid alcohol and sugary drinks and try to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.
Relief may be on the way sooner than previously expected, with forecasters now predicting a cool change in some areas of the state on Sunday morning.
"We are looking at a fairly early southerly change on Sunday - that could drop the temperature down quite a bit," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Andrew Haigh said.
Parts of the coast and greater Sydney are due to cool down to the mid-20s on Monday and Tuesday.
The RFS is urging residents in bushfire-prone areas to have evacuation plans in place and to keep track of the organisation's website or the Fire Near Me app for updates.