Power out

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Electricity is out across all of Alice Springs because of a break-down in the generation system, according to a spokeswoman for the Power Water Corporation.

 

Crews are still seeking to identify the problem and no time can be given for a resumption of service.

 

 

UPDATE 12:37pm

 

Power is progressively being restored in Alice Springs, investigations are underway to determine what causes the outage, says a spokeswoman for the Power Water Corporation.

 

 

UPDATE 3:41pm

 

Darren Burton, of Uncle Edy’s ice-cream shop at the southern end of Todd Mall, says during the six hours of no power – so far – he would have lost an estimated $5000 if he did not have a gen set, which he has as a builder.

 

He says the neighbours in Todd Mall have shut their doors and gone home.

 

“The pubs are open, maybe they are just giving it away before it gets hot,” he says.

 

The Alice Plaza, which had lost its power for only an hour and a half, is having their biggest day ever, he says.

 

But the sports store across the road is still without power, while the bank and the shops opposite have electricity again.

 

“We are probably losing more than $2000 worth of trading today,” he says. “I had to send the staff home. I am asking Power Water Corporation, is there going to be compensation.”

 

[ED – The power at Edy’s came back two minutes after we posted this update. The power of the press?]

 

 

UPDATE 5:00pm

 

The PWC spokeswoman says the majority of the services have now been restored, except for a handful in the Larapinta Area.

 

It seems the fault started on a pole of the feeder line to the Golden Mile and Jay Creek. That pole has not been found yet but crews are out there checking.

 

That fault caused a chain reaction that ultimately shut down the ageing Ron Goodin power station, to be closed next year, and also affected the Owen Springs plant.

 

 

UPDATE Friday 1:10am

 

Alice Springs power outage summary from the PWC spokeswoman

  • Power in Alice Springs went out at approx. 09 48 am yesterday morning.
  • Broader areas included Santa Teresa and Hermannsburg.
  • The cause is being investigated.
  • We know that a fault occurred on a powerline supplying mostly rural areas south and west of the Alice Springs township.
  • This resulted in  generation at Owen Springs Power Station shutting down with a subsequent chain reaction leading to a complete loss of power supply to Alice Springs and surrounding areas.
  • Power and Water worked with Territory Generation to progressively restore power supply to customers.
  • Generators needed to be re-started to bring supply back on, which is a slow and progressive process.
  • A power system such as that in Alice Springs is vulnerable. We are looking at all areas including system protection schemes and other possibilities. We want to ensure our systems and equipment are operating as they should.
  • As at 4pm, the majority of customers had power restored, except for around 200 in the Jay Creek, White Gums and Larapinta Drive areas, and some areas south of The Gap.
  • Crews are patrolling the powerline feeding those areas and restoring power section by section.

 

 

 

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11 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Brown Out?
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Imagine when the 100 year flood hits.

    View Comment
  2. Surprised!
    Posted November 10, 2017 at 10:02 am

    @1 Alex says it all. It’s not about losing power. Yep, natural disasters are understandable, but these regular unexplained outages are cause for serious concern and clearly indicate that PWC have some serious issues.
    The fact that they have not identified or will not disclose the cause, is frightening.
    Businesses lost a huge amount of business and our power was out from 10am until 6pm, that’s more than a few hours.
    Clearly the people that are accepting of this outage are government workers and may have little or no concept of the real costs to the consumers.
    So, my point again, how hard is it to run a power station?

    View Comment
  3. Posted November 10, 2017 at 7:21 am

    @ Sue Scott (Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:12 pm): The examples you give of extended power loss are all disruptions caused by major weather events. That is perfectly understandable.
    I recall the March 1983 flood in Alice Springs when the Ron Goodin power station was inundated, if my memory serves me right we had no power for about two days or so – given the situation NTEC (NT Electricity Commission, as it then was) did a remarkable job of restoring services in such a short time.
    The difference with yesterday’s power outage is that it occurred abruptly on a perfectly pleasant day (the same goes for other recent events, too). As I write the fault that caused the blackout still hasn’t been identified.
    It’s a fault within the system and it’s really not good enough that this situation has occurred.

    View Comment
  4. Frank Taylor
    Posted November 10, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Most people struggle with running their household never mind a big organisation. Things happen in life. Go overseas – a few hour without electricity? tThink yourself lucky you have any at all.

    View Comment
  5. Sue Scott
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Sorry that you guys have had no power today but seriously, start thinking about areas that are impacted by cyclones and have lost power for 14 days minimum.
    The Whitsundays end of March 2017.
    Just saying.
    Cyclone Ului 2010: Five days which we thought were intolerable.

    View Comment
  6. Surprised!
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Really? How hard can it be to run a power station! So how do the businesses get compensation for the huge loss of business? In true government style it will be overlooked.
    I ordered my own 40 kva unit a month ago so I wouldn’t have to put up with this crappy service, I’m sick of it!

    View Comment
  7. Fred the Philistine
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    @ Steve: SA has two million people to service. NT only has 250,000 at most. Let’s be realistic.

    View Comment
  8. Posted November 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Power back on at my home 11:30am!

    View Comment
  9. Steve
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    When did we become part of South Australia?

    View Comment
  10. Darren
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Well, still no power at Uncle Edys, running freezers off gen set to save ice cream.

    View Comment
  11. Fred the Philistine
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    So much for new generators. Will we need to spend another $75m like the last major supply problem?

    [ED – The new engines are not yet commissioned. That will happen early next year.]

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