10 February 2017

Limit power use this afternoon to prevent outages: official

| Charlotte
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Photo: iStock

Power outages due to increased demand during today’s heatwave remain a strong possibility, and are most likely to occur between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, according to an ACT Government spokeswoman who urges Canberrans to minimise electricity use during the next few hours.

The Director-General of the ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, Dorte Ekelund, said this afternoon that the Government had been in conversations throughout the day with the Australian Energy Market Operator.

“There remains a possibility of supply shortfalls in Canberra especially from mid to late afternoon,” Ms Ekelund said.

Any disruption would see ‘rotational load shedding’ to electricity supply, leading to power being cut to some areas for set periods.

“Load shedding occurs when the electricity supply to customers is interrupted because the electricity demand is higher than what the electricity system can supply at that particular time,” Ms Ekelund explained.

“If there is a disruption this could result in selected residential areas being switched off for a period of up to two hours on a scheduled basis.

“To help reduce the risk of this occurring, it is important households and businesses continue to do what they can to limit their electrical use. Despite the efforts people are making, the extreme heat means electricity usage is up about 15% on yesterday.

“We want people to still remain cool given the extreme heat but there’s several simple steps people can take to reduce the strain on the electricity system.”

Tips for residents to reduce electricity include:

· Turn off unnecessary residential lighting
· Restrict use of air conditioning (set temperature to 26 degrees or higher)
· Minimise use of cooking equipment
· Consolidate refrigeration and turn off unnecessary fridges
· Avoid use of dishwashers, clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners & second TV
· Turn off domestic pool pumping and heating operation for the day
· Avoid use of TVs or computers for game purposes
· Turn off appliances usually left in standby mode – including TVs, DVDs, videos, stereos, computers, microwave ovens, battery chargers and portable power supplies.

Tips for businesses to reduce electricity include:

· Limit the use of air conditioners to occupied spaces only and setting the thermostat to no less than 26°C
· Turn off unnecessary interior lighting, particularly in unoccupied spaces
· Turn off advertising lighting and any unnecessary exterior lighting
· Turn off heating appliances for swimming pools or spas
· Turn off appliances usually left in standby mode
· Turn off computer hard drives and screens unless in use
· Turn off water heating systems and urns.

“With expected peak demand between 4.30pm and 6.3 pm, it would also be great if workers can do things like turn off their lights and appliances on their way out of the office or building today which will also reduce energy use over the whole weekend.”

Ms Ekelund also encouraged workers to be mindful of their safety during the heat.

Tips for workers and employers:

· Reorganise work for cooler times of the day
· Avoid working near reflective surfaces such as water, cement, shiny metal or white painted sheds
· Rotate heavy work so each worker spends less time undertaking strenuous activity
· Wear sun protective clothing such as long-sleeved, closely-woven shirts, long trousers and a hat that protects the head, ears, nose and neck
· Wear eye protection sunglasses or safety glasses that filter out ultraviolet rays
· Use a SPF 15 or higher water-resistant sunscreen and reapply at least every two hours
· Take regular breaks in a cool shaded area and drink plenty of water.
· Stay up to date at esa.act.gov.au and via ESA Facebook and Twitter.

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Maya123 said :

What about a survey here asking:

1: Do you have air-conditioning?

2: If you do, what temperature is it set for?

Should have added:

3: Does your air conditioning cool one room, or the whole house?

What about a survey here asking:

1: Do you have air-conditioning?

2: If you do, what temperature is it set for?

My normal use of electricity is minimal. No air-conditioning, solar hot water, no lights on, very little on stand by, as I turn most things off at the power points. I wanted to cook today though, but I am considering if I should. If everyone only used the electricity I used it would be no problem, but many people will have their air-conditioner going and NOT set at 26C, but set much lower and likely don’t care, considering it their ‘right’ (comments on these forums give an indication of that). So, conflicted here!

MrPC said :

A gas cooker in an air-conditioned house increases the power consumption of your air conditioning.

Not if an evaporative cooler is being used.

A gas cooker in an air-conditioned house increases the power consumption of your air conditioning.

Solar cells today would be around 60-70 degrees C.
They would be losing about 1% efficiency per degree above 40C.
25% loss is astronomical in power generation.

There should be a note that those generating their own power can ignore the restrictions.

Maryann Mussared4:41 pm 10 Feb 17

I find ‘minimising use of cooking equipment’ a most useful suggestion, especially as I have gas. This information was around last night and poorly distributed via Facebook. Canberrans should have been armed with this information yesterday so they could prepare. Thank you RiotACT for making it accessible to more people. This situation reminds me of a girlfriend whose family was posted to a third world country in the 1960s. She wrote of how she hated summer as the electricity went off regularly and then the water would be cut so they only had it for a couple of hours a day, and often only in the middle of the night. Thanks goodness we at least have plenty of water in our dams…

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