South Australia Demands AEMO Provides Answers On Load Shedding

South Australia Demands AEMO Provides Answers On Load Shedding

South Australia Minister for Energy Tom Koutsantonis

Serious Questions To Be Asked Of National Electricity Market Operators

Victor P Taffa

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis today called on the operator of the national electricity market, AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator ), to answer serious questions about the load shedding event in South Australia on Wednesday.

“There are still some very serious questions that need to be answered by the operator about what happened in South Australia on Wednesday, and I hope those questions are answered in the Senate select committee today.” Minister for Energy Tom Koutsantonis said.

The call comes before AEMO’s Executive General Manager David Swift is due to appear before a Senate select committee on electricity in Canberra at 2 pm Adelaide time.

Specifically, Minister Koutsantonis has called on AEMO to explain why it provided 36 hours warning that load shedding was likely in NSW this afternoon, while no advanced warning was provided for South Australia on Wednesday.

“I sincerely hope that AEMO is able to avoid load shedding in NSW so that families and businesses aren’t subjected to what happened in South Australia on Wednesday. But South Australians would also like to know why in NSW 36 hours notice has been given about potential load shedding this afternoon, but no notice whatsoever was provided in South Australia.” Mr. Koutsantonis said.

Minister Koutsantonis has also asked why Pelican Point was not directed by AEMO to come online, which would have prevented load shedding in South Australia.

Background

AEMO has forecast a critical lack of electricity supply for New South Wales (NSW) from 4 pm today. AEMO issued the first LOR3 for NSW which notifies of the critical lack of electricity being supplied by the market and the risk of load shedding 36 hours in advance.

However on Wednesday no notice warning of potential load shedding was provided for South Australia, with the LOR3 only issued after load shedding commenced.

AEMO ordered load shedding in South Australia at 6.33 pm on Wednesday 8 February, despite the fact that additional gas-fired generation was available at Pelican Point and could have been directed by AEMO to come on. AEMO ordered full power to be restored about 30 minutes later.

Yesterday Premier Jay Weatherill declared that South Australia was now on its own and must take back control of the electricity market. He flagged dramatic intervention in the market to restore control and reliability, to be announced in the coming weeks.