Power blackout probe puts onus on Electricity Authority, Transpower to do better

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An investigation has revealed there was no need for power cuts that left more than 34,000 households without electricity on one of the coldest nights of the year.

A Man With Warm Clothing Feeling The Cold Inside House

File pic Photo: 123RF

On the night of 9 August electricity demand reached an all-time high and, combined with insufficient generation, it resulted in blackouts to some parts of the country as power distributors responded to Transpower’s demand to reduce the burden on the national grid.

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said the report into the incident, published today, showed there was enough discretionary load to keep the lights on.

It found Transpower could not see the extent of that discretionary load and the Electricity Authority must review and strengthen its oversight of the operator.

Minister of Housing Megan Woods

Megan Woods Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Both agencies were asked to consider the report’s 18 recommendations and provide quarterly updates to Minister Woods on their progress.

“I do not want households to be put in this situation again,” Woods said in a statement.

“Kiwis deserve more. By implementing the report’s 18 recommendations I believe we will be better placed in future.

“It is also clear that the market requires much greater demand side participation if greater electrification and decarbonisation is to happen. In future, better use of hot water control, known as ripple control, and other technologies are likely to be key to this.”

The inquiry was headed by former Cabinet minister Pete Hodgson who was assisted by specialist technical advisor Erik Westergaard.

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