8 Million Australians Asked to Turn Off Electricity Due to Energy Crisis

8 Million Australians Asked to Turn Off Electricity Due to Energy Crisis


Australia's energy minister has urged households in New South Wales - a state that includes the country's largest city Sydney - to turn off their lights in the face of an energy crisis.

Chris Bowen said people shouldn't use electricity for two hours every night if they "have a choice".

However, he added he was "confident" that the outage could be avoided. It comes after Australia's main wholesale electricity market was shut down due to a spike in prices. Bowen called on people living in New South Wales to save as much electricity as possible. This is as quoted from the BBC page, Thursday (16/6/2022).

"If you have a choice about when to run a particular item, don't run it from 6 to 8 [evening]," he told a televised media conference in Canberra.

Australia is one of the world's biggest exporters of coal and liquefied natural gas, but has been struggling with a power crisis since last month.

Three-quarters of the country's electricity is still generated using coal. It has long been accused of not doing enough to reduce its emissions by investing in renewable energy.
















In recent weeks, Australia has felt the impact of coal supply disruptions, blackouts at several coal-fired power plants and soaring global energy prices.

About a quarter of Australia's coal-fired power generation capacity is currently unusable due to unexpected outages and unscheduled maintenance.

Some power producers have seen their costs soar as global coal and gas prices soared due to sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, energy demand is soaring amid the cold weather and as the Australian economy opens up after COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

All of this has helped drive electricity prices in the wholesale market above the A$300 (£173; $210) per megawatt hour price cap set by the market regulator, Energy Market Operators Australia (Aemo).

However, the limit was below production costs for some generators, which decided to hold capacity.

On Wednesday, Aemo took the unprecedented step of suspending the market and said it would set prices directly and compensate generators for the shortfall.









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It also asked consumers in New South Wales to "temporarily reduce their energy use".

Aemo has not given a timeline for when the suspension will be lifted. It said in a statement, "The price cap will remain until the cumulative wholesale electricity price drops below the cumulative price threshold."

"Aemo, as the operator of the national power system, will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates if conditions change," he added.

On Thursday, Australia's largest electricity producer AGL Energy said it was expected to supply more power to businesses and consumers in the coming days.

It has three malfunctioning units at a coal-fired power plant in Bayswater, New South Wales.

They are among several planned and unplanned blackouts that have helped lead to the power crisis. AGL said that one of the units should be back in operation by Thursday, while the others would be back online on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Australia's new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the crisis would be raised at a meeting with state prime ministers starting on Thursday.

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