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Melbourne Black Outs Due To “Unreported Air Cons”

January 28, 2018

By Paul Homewood


h/t Andy G55


From the No S**t Sherlock Dept, it’s hot in Australia this summer!


Jo Nova takes it up:


The temperature reached 38C in Melbourne (100F) on Sunday — something it has probably done most summers since 10,000BC.

CitiPower, Powercor and the United Energy spokeswoman Emma Tyner said that as of 9.25pm, about 41,190 homes were without power across those three networks. – Sydney Morning Herald

Now why would that be? Ms Tyner puts a lack of supply in the nicest possible way:

“The extreme heat has significantly increased electricity use and this has resulted in localised power outages,” Ms Tyner said.

It’s not that governments didn’t plan energy policy — it’s the users who wanted too much (i.e your fault.) Though Victorians used to use more power than this.  On Sunday, peak electricity demand was 9,124MW, about 13% less than the all time peak of 10,496MW in 2009. (In case you are wondering, Hazelwood (now closed) produced 1600MW or about 25% of Victorian baseload power.)

Mr Armstrong from Ausnet Services (another power company) blamed unreported air conditioners:

“There are a lot fuses blowing in the hot weather and a significant power pull with people having put in air-conditioners they didn’t tell us about,” Mr Armstrong said. — The Age

Who knew you needed to tell your power company when you put in an air conditioner?

Gone are the days when people could willy-nilly run down to Retrovision and just buy an air con.

Ms Tyner and Mr Armstrong may have inadvertently let the cat out of the bag. Perhaps they will get quiet reeducation tomorrow on how to phrase the cause of blackouts. (Aren’t they due to old coal turbines breaking?)   ;-)

Next, expect people to start saying how normal it is to have blackouts on hot days. “It’s just a part of life.”

If only the same people would say that about hot days.

You know things are serious when Kmart runs out of fans.

A Kmart in Northcote on Sunday was completely sold out of all cooling devices, from fans to air-conditioning units, its duty manager said.

So no willy-nilly fan buying either.

Tonight some people have fans, but no electricity. Others have electricity but no fans.

Others have electricity and fans, but no money. Luckily electricity “only” reached a peak of $3,125 per MWh briefly in Victoria. (Only a few million extra).


Read the full story from Jo here.

  1. markl permalink
    January 28, 2018 10:57 pm

    Australia, the guinea pig of renewable energy.

    • Ian Magness permalink
      January 28, 2018 11:00 pm

      More like crash test dummy (or maybe dummies….) Mark.
      And they just crashed.

      • Ross King permalink
        January 29, 2018 6:46 am

        I know and have played Rugby over the years with a lot of Ozzies ….. I have nothing but respect for their forthrightness and common..sense et al.
        WTF has gone wrong that they can vote themselves into the dire predicament regarding electric power stability and security that they have today?

    • Philip of Taos permalink
      January 29, 2018 4:14 am

      It’s amazing that the Politicians haven’t had their hoisted on a petard.

      • Ross King permalink
        January 29, 2018 6:50 am

        Championship Tennis Balls as the attachment point ??!!

  2. Geoff Sherrington permalink
    January 28, 2018 11:26 pm

    Through these blackouts, I have been listening for the words renewables energy and it’s effects on grid management and line electrical quality.
    Score so far, spin 100, RE 0. Geoff

  3. January 29, 2018 12:03 am

    Well, what a surprise, it is hot and humid and consumers of energy want to pay more to stay cool, likewise in the Winter they want to be warm and dry! This wasn’t a problem until the Australian government, together with other country’s’ governments were told that an atmospheric concentration of CO2 of, wait for it…………….. 0.04%, of which mankind added 33% of this total to a stunning 0.013% of total atmospheric CO2 concentration was going to lead to Armageddon. It won’t, it is the same hysteria that the Left love to use to keep us all under their control! The Left: A bunch of self-righteous control freaks who do not have the intelligence to realise that their Socialist/Communist system has failed every single time it has been tried, without one single exception!

    “Repeating the same series of actions and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity! Albert Einstein.

    • BLACK PEARL permalink
      January 29, 2018 12:31 am

      From what I’ve read, of that 0.013% increase you mention, apparently only around 5% of that is attributed to burning of fossil fuels etc, the rest coming from natural sources.
      So that would be 0.00065% volume addition…. a tipping point & worse than we thought 🙂

    • January 29, 2018 1:52 am

      I’m so glad you sugar coated it!

  4. Broadlands permalink
    January 29, 2018 12:49 am

    And what about Melbourne (and other parts of the world) back in warm 1921? Before CO2 was the cause of all this mayhem.

  5. January 29, 2018 1:51 am

    Well hopefully one of those dislodged gigantic Antarctica ice bergs will float north and cool off these mates

  6. Ross King permalink
    January 29, 2018 1:57 am

    Being a Tennis fan, I note that the Melbourne Tennis Centre suffers no blacks..out.
    Are they equipped with a battery of diesel gen..sets on Court 99 spewing obnoxious black poluution into the city’s armosphere?
    Presum’ly, they have to run full..time so that there is no disruption during a rally.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      January 29, 2018 3:50 am

      Ross King:
      There are hospitals nearby and they were directed to startup their emergency diesel units.

  7. Graeme No.3 permalink
    January 29, 2018 3:49 am

    There was a “temporary stoppage in supply” in the north of Adelaide on Friday evening. Only about 70,000 homes. Fortunately it was only 40.8℃ outside and it cooled down slightly over the next 2 hours.

  8. January 29, 2018 6:25 am

    The problem we have in this country is that the disastrous impact of the Climate Change Act, the drive for renewables and the closure of our base-load coal-fired power stations does not get through the bureaucracy to the Government.

    How many MPs or members of HMG will get to read about what is happening in Australia and will realise that what is happening there will soon be happening here (but in winter rather than summer when the impacts will be worse)? The answer will be very close to zero.

    How many times do you here TPTB saying “lessons will be learned” and how many times are those lessons learned? The answer is very close to zero.

    • dave permalink
      January 29, 2018 9:03 am

      “…lessons will be learned…

      “The ability “to join the dots” used to be cultivated by children whenever one took them to a Pizza Hut, back in the day. Do they not provide those paper puzzles to stretch the mind any more?

      Again, It was Jowett of Oxford who said “Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl!” This Oxford hubris has always dominated in England (Blair, Cameron, May, Johnson) come to mind. Cambridge practicality rarely gets a look in.

    • Rah permalink
      January 29, 2018 5:08 pm

      And who suffers the consequences of learning the lessons the hard way? Certainly not the politicians and those that have them in their pockets!

    • duker permalink
      January 30, 2018 3:52 am

      The total load in MWhr wasnt even close to previous peaks. What has happened is that more A/C units are installed now in residential areas, while these may to add to the MWhr load they certainly take more reactive power due to the electric motors they use.
      The voltage drop is likely what caused the substations to trip as a low voltage can cause damage to electrical equipment.

      • dave permalink
        January 30, 2018 10:32 am

        “…[motors] take more reactive power…”

        They do not “take” any such power. By definition, “reactive power” refers to energy which is APPARENTLY taken but is actually RETURNED to the generating system.

      • dave permalink
        January 30, 2018 10:49 am

        In one old apartment which I rented, the A/C unit in the wall and the Freezer unit each tended to trip the circuit-breaker for the whole place, at the moment of turning on. By experiment, I found that the actual increase in load lasted less than a second – while any magnetic field grew. And of course when switched off, the energy stored in the magnetic field must have been given back as quickly to the power company. Unless everybody in the City tried really hard to coordinate their actions, the net upset for the whole system would be negligible.

      • duker permalink
        January 31, 2018 5:45 am

        The voltage drop was certainly what caused to transformers to trip. Quibbling over reactive power definition is ridiculous in this context.

  9. January 29, 2018 10:11 am

    Less baseload = lower peak demand generating capacity. It’s not rocket science – unless you’re a political leader it seems.

    • dave permalink
      January 29, 2018 11:50 am

      I notice that the UK energy minister Claire Perry who receives a few notices now and then in this place is just being outed for her emails where you described some “colleagues” (no less!) with whom she happened to have a disagreement as “elderly” (so, she is ‘ageist’) “men” (so, she is ‘sexist’) and “swivel-eyed” (which is, of course, the modern code for ‘slope-eyed’ and so she loves to use racial slurs). All this in addition to being an idiot. Is there any beginning to her talents? Or end to her fragrance?

      • dave permalink
        January 29, 2018 11:52 am

        “…you described…”

        …SHE described…

      • dave permalink
        January 29, 2018 12:21 pm


        She is yet another big-headed product of Oxford – who did Geography (like May).

        Incidentally, I have nothing against someone learning a bit of Geography. I did a course in ‘Human Geography’ as part of one degree. It does not constitute a complete education, however.

      • Nigel permalink
        January 29, 2018 12:35 pm

        My provisional offer letter from a Cambridge College in 1961 had the one-line paragraph:

        “We do not admit anyone who proposes to study Geography.”

      • Ross King permalink
        January 30, 2018 6:55 am

        Claire Perry, a Geography student, prob’ly doesn’t know what a kwh is, let alone how to produce one.
        In my day, if you wanted to become a Rugby Blue at Oxford, you applied to Teddy Hall, reading Geography. It was said that all you needed to do …. if you were already, say, an All Black …. was write your name semi..coherently on the top of the Application Form.
        Maybe Claire Perry was an aspiring Ladies’ Blue in …… what??? Certainly not PowerGen Policy.
        I hear peripherally that Entry Standards at Oxford are significantlly more stringent, but in Clairy..Fairy’s case one might wonder.

      • dave permalink
        January 30, 2018 9:53 am

        We were told – apocryphally, no doubt – that an interview at Christ’s, Cambridge would involve entering the Hall and being tossed a rugby ball. You would then have to do a dummy around the Tutor and throw the ball with a swallow dive at a wastebasket twenty yards away. “Ball in! Man in!”

  10. January 29, 2018 11:11 am

    A part of the country regularly gets temperatures in the very high thirties and the power company is surprised that the locals have air conditioning which they proceed to turn on when it get’s hot? I guess they are surprised that the locals turn on their lights when it gets dark. I can see they are sure in a good position to handle the fluctuating peak demand for power when everybody is driving electric vehicles like they want legislated into place.

    Wait until there is a major fireworks display on one side of the city, a major sporting on the other and a world class concert in the center. A half million people decide to top up their car battery before heading out into what they know will be major congestion and a long wait in traffic with their air, music and lights on. A mild, quiet Sunday afternoon suddenly turns into the biggest power drain in years. The power company will say………well, no one told us they were going to go out on a Sunday night. They should have reported their plans to us. We are very sorry that not only could they not charge their batteries as expected but they lost all power to their homes and neighborhoods entirely ……

  11. January 29, 2018 12:43 pm

    Must admit, I howled with laughter although not as much as with the UEA “pee in the shower” scheme. However, my mirth is tempered with fact that this involves the lives and comfort of many people. They are caused to suffer by mindless bureaucrats who do not give a fig.

    It was interesting to see the observation that these folks were in no way accountable to elected officials. That is something the American Founding Fathers were bound and determined to fix. Government was to be accountable to “We the People.” Over the decades that was largely ignored and we got run-away agencies such as EPA.

    On November 8, 2016, American Deplorables set out to fix that fix. We elected Donald John Trump as President. He has been taking a machete to the bureaucrat forest and draining their swamp. They are not happy and are fighting back. When campaigning, he promised to cut TWO regulations for every new one passed. However, he has not kept that goal. Rather, TWENTY-TWO regulations have been cut for every new one. He has also re-instituted common sense which had become an endangered species.

    Sounds as though you need to hold some elected tootsies to the fire–or perhaps just open the door and stick them out. Not knowing is not a valid excuse.

    • dave permalink
      January 29, 2018 4:45 pm

      Pee in the shower? I have done worse…far worse.

  12. January 29, 2018 11:25 pm

    It’s not the air cons it’s the climate con.

    • duker permalink
      January 30, 2018 3:59 am

      The power available from the generators was sufficient to meet demand. The A/C units use reactive power to maintain the magnetic field in the electric motors, this is what leads to a local voltage drop which can damage electrical equipment, so the substations trip. The electrical distribution networks are the ones responsible for the localized problems not the generators or the grid

      • D Kendrick permalink
        February 2, 2018 3:44 pm

        In a word, use a voltage regulator (UPS)

  13. andrewa permalink
    February 2, 2018 5:10 pm

    Yet when Hazelwood was running this sort of thing didn’t happen?

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