Urgent call to reduce power use as Snowy region bushfires cut interstate lines

Smoke impacts the Upper Tumut power switching station. Interstate power transmission lines were cut of by bushfires on Saturday evening. Picture: Matt Kean
Smoke impacts the Upper Tumut power switching station. Interstate power transmission lines were cut of by bushfires on Saturday evening. Picture: Matt Kean

NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean has pleaded for users in NSW to reduce their power usage after bushfires in the Snowy Mountains region cut off a major interstate transmission line.

Mr Kean issued the call out on Saturday evening and warned power supplies would start to get tight after 6pm that night.

"ALERT: Have just lost transmission lines in Snowy region. Expected tight supply situation around 6pm," Mr Kean stated on social media just after 5.38pm.

"Asking everyone to reduce unnecessary electricity usage.

"Please turn off pool pumps, lights in unoccupied rooms and avoid using washing machines and dishwashers."

A spokesman for Mr Kean said the loss of the transmission line was impacting the entire electricity network.

"The extensive bushfire activity in the Snowy Mountains and other areas of the state have had an impact on our electricity supplies," Mr Kean said in a subsequent statement at 6.50pm on Saturday.

"The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), TransGrid and the NSW and ACT Governments are working closely to keep power supplies on, but due to today's weather conditions as we approach the evening peak there may be a need to turn off power in parts of the network to keep the overall system secure."

"We are asking all consumers to be mindful of any unnecessary electricity usage."

"Things you can do to help include: making sure pool pumps are off; setting air conditioners to 24 or 25 degrees; not using washing machines, dishwashers or dryers; turning off appliances and lights in rooms that are not being used.

"AEMO is also working with large load electricity customers to reduce their electricity consumption where possible."

The Victoria and NSW interconnector carries electricity from the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme.

The Dunns Road and Green Valley bushfires which cut off the power lines are also currently threatening the alpine towns of Adelong and Talbingo as of Saturday evening.

Mr Kean's office and the office of his Victorian Government counterpart, Lily D'Ambrosio, said on Friday that their respective states were preparing for a scenario where interstate power lines were cut off.

"I've been working closely over the past few days with TransGrid, Snowy Hydro, AEMO, the RFS and NPWS to identify and protect key generating and transmission assets in the Snowy Mountains ahead of Saturday's forecast hotter conditions," Mr Kean's spokesperson said on Friday.

This story Urgent call to reduce power use as bushfires cut interstate lines first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.