The cool winds of change

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and the Australian Energy Council (AEC) have released a fact sheet explaining how the energy sector prepares for summer’s extreme weather.

As the weather heats up, electricity demand is often at its peak and the electricity grid is put under strain.

This summer, eastern and northern Australia have the complicating factor of a La Niña weather pattern. It means this season is expected to have less extremely hot days (compared with 2019/20), but there is also an increased chance of prolonged, but less intense heatwaves, particularly for southern Australia.

While no two La Niña weather season are alike, it can signal cooler, wetter weather which can lead to strong winds, flooding and cyclones making landfall.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said powerful storms, cyclones and flash flooding could cause disruptions to transmission and distribution networks.

“Extreme weather events make power outages more likely and in cases where there is very high electricity demand, the Australian Energy Market Operator may also order rolling black outs (called load shedding) to ensure the security of the grid,” he said.

“We understand how inconvenient outages are and networks do everything they can to prepare for extreme weather and to respond when it causes disruptions. Power is restored as quickly as possible, with priority given to vulnerable customers and people on life support.”

Australian Energy Council CEO, Sarah McNamara said while generators worked throughout the year to ensure that demand was met during peak times, high temperatures could affect key infrastructure.

“Ongoing maintenance takes place throughout the year to keep the grid and generators in good working order before summer,” Ms McNamara said.

Customers are encouraged to follow their electricity distributor’s social media pages for information about outages.