9 December 2023

Storm damage leaves 9000 without power as heatwave continues

| Zoe Cartwright
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dark clouds in the city

Dark clouds on the horizon warned of potential storms as the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning yesterday. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

There are widespread power outages across Canberra following last night’s severe thunderstorms, as the city braces for today’s heatwave.

At 11:30 pm on Friday, 8 December, an ACT State Emergency Service spokesperson said they were responding to hundreds of calls.

“There are widespread power outages and power lines down,” the spokesperson said.

“Approximately 9000 people are currently without power.

“The SES attends the most urgent requests first, so we appreciate your patience.

“If you feel unsafe where you currently are, consider contacting or staying with friends or family.”

READ ALSO Severe heatwave warning issued for parts of ACT

Evoenergy has advised outages will continue well into today, and with temperatures forecast to reach 37 degrees people should plan accordingly.

Evoenergy advises people to stay at least 10m away from fallen or damaged powerlines and report incidents to 131 093.

Current power outage details are available at Outages – Evoenergy

A number of roads were also impacted by the storm – for the latest details head to Road closures – City Services (act.gov.au)

The SES advises residents, particularly those impacted by power outages, to be aware of the risk of heat-related illness and plan ahead to keep yourself and others safe.

Heat can make anyone sick, but people over 65 years old, the very young, those with a pre-existing medical condition and those that work outside are most at risk.

READ ALSO Heat refuges not likely to be triggered during current severe heatwave

Heat-related illness can range from mild conditions, such as a rash or cramps to heatstroke – which is life-threatening.

The ACT Ambulance Service advises:

  • Drinking plenty of water – always take a bottle with you.
  • Never leave kids, adults or pets in cars. The temperature inside a parked car can double within minutes.
  • Seek out air-conditioned buildings, use a fan, take cool showers, and dress in light, loose clothing made from natural fabrics.
  • Schedule activities in the coolest part of the day and avoid exercising in the heat.
  • If you must go out, wear a hat and sunscreen and take a bottle of water with you.
  • Know the symptoms of heat-related illness and visit your GP or a Walk-in Centre if you or someone around you is unwell.
  • Look after those most at risk in the heat – your friends and family or your neighbour living alone, the elderly, the young, people with a medical condition and don’t forget your pets.

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As a person who has lived in both Adelaide and Alice Springs (and Brisbane with its humidity) I would hardly call the current burst of summer a heat wave. Yes, people who may be vulnerable to anything above 25C should take care unless they sparkle in the sunlight or burst into flames upon exposure to direct sunlight but sensible precautions will see them through this arduous time. Well done to the ACT SES and Evoenergy personnel for their diligence and service to the community.

so when we reach an EV only future and there are similar extended power outages, what happens if people need to get around, but can’t charge their cars?

Ring Chris Bowen

Ian Fletcher7:49 am 11 Dec 23

What happens when you can’t refuel during a grid outage?

I have an EV in the garage, Solar on the roof and a battery on the house.

My neighbourhood lost power for 36hrs over the hot weekend. We didn’t.

We had extension cords leaving the house going to the neighbours fridges, and we still had enough left over to run the wall mounted reverse cycle a/C, and charge the EV throughout the day.

My solar inverter had to shutdown because our battery was full by midday and I told the neighbours to go plug in their heat pumps and heat up their boilers fully so we could catch more sun.

EVs are coming soon with V2L and V2G technology that will essentially make them huge integrated community batteries – in some situations making the owner thousands when the energy companies buyback electricity during peak demand. Combine all the EVs batteries into the grid and you get massive energy supply to where you need it during emergency outages.

These technologies and endless capabilities bring stability to the grid, not the opposite.

I’ve probably now opened myself up to a tonne to auto-reply myths involving the words “landfill”, “child labour in Congo”, and “not enough lithium” – and I welcome them.

@Ian Fletcher
Thank you for bringing some sanity and real world expereince to what the future based on renewables will be like.

As you say, the usual deniers and skeptics will try to counter your positive experience with a fabricated story they have read on social media. Fortunately they are the vocal minority and their numbers will continue to diminish as factual anecdotes from even further dent their credibility.

Richard Scherer9:49 am 11 Dec 23

Well said Ian. I’d really like to hear more discussion about the benefits of community batteries to store the vast amounts of rooftop solar currently unable to be used in real time.

Capital Retro11:28 am 11 Dec 23

If a “community battery” catches fire does this mean the community it supports burns down also?

@Ian Fletcher
… and true to denialist form, Capital Retro delivers.

Capital Retro12:44 pm 11 Dec 23

It appears the “cost of living crisis” hasn’t hit your neighbourhood yet.

Bloody gumtrees!

What heatwave are we talking about? I don’t think a day this week got above 33 degrees, and the majority of them were only about 31 or 32. And big deal that December has been a fair bit warmer than November. 1. That’s normal, seeing as November is spring and December is summer and 2. November temps were a bit down on what might otherwise be. So, best to just call the weather we’ve having summer, and leave the theatrics to the dainties on stage.

agree. having been born in Adelaide and living through stretches of 40+ degree days, what we are seeing in Canberra at the moment is quite mild.

HiddenDragon12:43 pm 09 Dec 23

A very, very big thank you to the teams who worked through the night, in what must have been truly challenging conditions, to get the power back on for so many so quickly – and fingers crossed for those still without power to get it back as soon as possible.

With storms like this seemingly more common, I hope Evoenergy is, at the very least, maintaining funding in real terms for this absolutely essential service.

Heatwave? BoM says 33c at 11:00, currently 26c

Capital Retro11:26 am 11 Dec 23

Meanwhile, the ABC climate alarmists sound disappointed that cyclone Jasper has weakened to at CAT 2 from a CAT 4 but they are beating up the possibility of a storm surge, whatever that is

It seems the more the reported weather changes the more the actual weather stays the same.

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