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Things you need to know about heatwaves and electricity

Every Australian knows how severe the heatwaves can get, particularly throughout January and February. What constitutes a heatwave? It’s when the temperature hits unusual heights for three, or more, days. This places extreme stress on the power grid, especially with the increase of air conditioning units in businesses and homes across the country.


Heatwaves often lead to blackouts due to the stress on the grid. There are a number of factors that lead to blackouts. It may be down to bushfires, generator faults or faults in the local grid system. It’s particularly strenuous when there are heatwaves occurring in multiple states at one time. It’s common for Victoria and South Australia to go through heatwaves together. Their power grids have interconnected, so when there’s high demand in one region another can meet the shortfall. This is more challenging when both of those regions are in a heatwave.


Local faults may be the result of an equipment failure or an accident. However, some are down to the high demand combined with the heat. You can usually find more information on a network’s website and social media.


In extreme circumstances, Australian Energy Market Operator will direct local networks to turn off power to the grid in certain areas. This is a rolling blackout and each grid will take it, in turn, to be without power.


What can you do at home? The first step is to discover who supplies your community with electricity. You can keep up with their updates so you know when there’s a fault locally. In the event of a blackout, you can use this information to plan ahead. You may be asked to limit your energy use to avoid rolling blackouts. It won’t just help your community, it will reduce your utility bills, too.

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