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Power cut risk rises

VICTORIANS face a higher risk of blackouts this summer, as demand for power continues to outstrip supply.

Latest predictions from the National Electricity Market Management Company show 2008-09 summer demand will be 401MW more than last summer — up 4 per cent.

The state’s reserve capacity is tipped to be reduced by up to 250MW, increasing the chances of blackouts at peak times.

Demand in Tasmania, which often draws power from Victoria, is expected to be up 1 per cent on last summer.

NEMMCO spokesman Paul Bird said a number of factors would have to combine to cause a loss of power.

Last summer, Victoria broke three power demand records during the New Year period, as temperatures soared above 40C. Thousands of homes in Geelong lost power because of a distribution problem.

The State Government this week announced a $750 million power plant would be built in the Latrobe Valley. It is expected to be operational by 2012 and add another 400MW to state electricity supplies.

Opposition energy spokesman Robert Clark said Victorians should be concerned about electricity supplies for the summer.

“The Government has been very complacent and has not done what it should have to encourage more power plants and encourage people to reduce power demand during peak periods,” he said.

Energy Minister Peter Batchelor’s spokesman, Dan Ward, said there would be enough power to meet demand.

Author: Sarah Wotherspoon, environment reporter
Publisher: News Ltd
Publication: Herald Sun, Page 9 (Fri 4 Jul 2008)