Victoria energy crisis: Is inadequate supply to blame?


In the Australian state of Victoria, an energy crisis has seen more than 17, 000 homes remain without power and blackouts are expected to continue until late Monday.

The power outages are said to be related to increases in energy demand due to the scorching temperatures recently experienced across Australia. Temperatures hit the high 30s in Melbourne.

The outages affected nearly 50,000 properties in Victoria.

Despite controversy around the cause of the blackouts, state government has been quick to respond, saying that issues with poles, wires and substations are to blame, rather than inadequate supply.

According to Premier Daniel Andrews, “there were distribution and localised network problems in individual neighbourhoods”.

A case for compensation

About 15,760 properties serviced by distributor United Energy’s network were still without power as of 9am Monday, while 275 were without power in the CitiPower and Powercor networks and 1,200 in Ausnet’s network.

Jemena said no outages were present in its network, but about 1,050 of the properties were without power at 9:30pm on Sunday.

Mr Andrews said there is indeed scope for compensation. “We are looking at all available means to compel companies to compensate people.”

A spokesman for United Energy, CitiPower and Powercor said fuse faults at their substations were to blame for the majority of outages.

“The prolonged high temperatures and humidity through the weekend significantly increased electricity demand at many locations across the network,” the spokesman said.

“Due to the large volume of faults, in some cases there may be extended restoration times with power in some areas likely to be affected until this evening.”

Cooler temperatures are predicted to reach Victoria’s southeast early Tuesday, while temperatures in the northeast are forecast to remain in the low 30s until Wednesday.