We were told last year to prepare for a summer of blackouts during hot days when energy supply peaks. And sure enough Victoria over the weekend suffered power outages affecting 95,000 properties. Many claimed this was due to a reduction in supply after the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station. However the Andrews Government claimed that the power outage was caused not by lack of supply but due to the heat an overloading of the energy infrastructure.
Daniel Andrews claimed this was a consequence of energy privatization in the 1990s.
I expect a lot better than what happened last night. Fact is, there was more than enough power being generated to meet the demand yesterday – but the private companies and their distribution systems failed yet again.
The Liberals never should have privatised electricity.
— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) January 29, 2018
I’m not sure that any company wants to have up to 95,000 angry customers.
People will recall that when the state wide blackout occurred in South Australia in 2016 the Weatherill Labor Government blamed an interconnector error and not a lack of supply.
You will notice that mass power blackouts not caused by storms have occurred in the states which have increased their reliance of renewable energy. Coincidence?
While the Victorian and South Australian Governments may be plausibly able to deny the power outages were due to supply they are going to have a more difficult time explaining why wholesale energy prices have doubled in their state over past year.
The South Australian Labor Government has a state election in less than two months and as a result has spent the past year putting in place strategies to prevent more blackouts in this politically sensitive time. They unveiled battery storage facilities late last year and it would appear they have done the trick.
The Andrews Government in Victoria is also facing an election at the end of this year and has promised to compensate those affected by the blackouts as a way to basically buy their way out of community outrage “We are looking at all available means to compel companies to compensate people”.
Whatever the official explanation from these state governments there is a clear correlation between increased reliance on renewable power and increased power prices and regular occurrence of blackouts.
Blackouts were predicted this summer and sadly we have seen that come true.