South Australia needs to conduct its own inquiry into power black-out

The State Liberals have accused Premier Jay Weatherill of misleading South Australians about the performance of South Australia’s electricity system during last week’s catastrophic state-wide blackout.

“Jay Weatherill has repeatedly claimed that the system operated as it was meant to when all of South Australia was plunged into a black-out following problems in the north of the state,” said Shadow Minister for Energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

 The AEMO investigation found that the uncontrolled disconnection of 315MW of wind power “increased the flow on the main Victorian interconnector (Heywood) to make up the deficit and resulted in the interconnector overloading.”

 And

 “To avoid damage to the interconnector, the automatic-protection mechanism activated, tripping the interconnector and resulting in the remaining customer load and electricity generation in SA being lost.

 “That is not how the electricity system should be operating and the Premier has been badly exposed by this preliminary report,” said Mr van Holst Pellekaan.

 “As a consequence we see Jay Weatherill falling back into his old habits of looking to shift the blame for his failure onto the Federal Government.

 “Jay Weatherill now has no option but to conduct a separate, independent inquiry into exactly how South Australia has found itself with the country’s most expensive power and least reliable power.”

The ‘independent’ inquiry should include the following terms of reference:

-       Why did a transmission/frequency event in one part of South Australia result in a state-wide blackout and how can this be avoided in the future?

-       Is there enough system re-start capability in the SA market?

-       Why did it take so long for power to be switched back on?

-       Has the proliferation of intermittent generation in South Australia put the state’s electricity network at risk?

-       Did the State Government adequately assess warnings regarding system unreliability?

-       Why are South Australians paying the highest electricity prices in the nation for a network that failed?