Blackouts in Perth caused thousands of properties to lose power over the Christmas break, as four days of 40C weather set in.
The power outage has led to a review being ordered by WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston, who has apologised for the outages.
“I know through this extraordinarily hot time how inconvenient it was to lose power,” Johnston said.
“We’re happy to be very transparent, and we will review the lead-up to this situation.”
So, what happened during the Perth Christmas power outage? How did Western Australia succumb to a massive power outage, leaving its people without aircon, fans, cold fridges or pool pumps? While Western Power has a fact page on this exact question, it hasn’t pointed the finger at any one cause.
Western Power does, however, say causes of power outages include: vehicle or machinery accidents, high winds, lightning strikes and storms, debris or vegetation hitting powerlines, animal life, such as birds or possums coming into contact with network equipment, vandalism, bushfires, equipment failure or wiring or appliance faults on your property.
Basically, it’s hard to say what the exact cause of the outage was, beyond excessive demand and extreme heat.
Western Power has also apologised for the outage. At the time of providing its most recent media release, Western Power said that there are still around 470 homes experiencing outages.
“We’re keeping affected customers informed via SMS, our website and social media. Response time messaging can sometimes take a while to be updated as on many occasions a repair crew needs to attend site and provide information on how long it will take to address the fault,” Western Power said.
Western Power added that Perth residents experiencing an extended outage should minimise opening fridges and freezers, should unplug all unessential electrical appliances, switch off air conditioners and unplug ‘surge-sensitive’, like TVs and computers.
If you’ve been affected by this outage, you can apply for an extended outage payment through Western Power’s extended outages payment claim form.
The outage has also had a bit of a domino effect too. iiNet has encountered email and internet service issues over the period of the heatwave, which it had blamed on the blackout.
The extreme situation even led to action from WA Police and the Fire Brigade – who joined in on water fights in the suburbs.
The Bureau of Meteorology says that the Perth Christmas power outage, where temperatures went above 40C for four straight days, is the first time it has happened in December and the third time it has ever been observed.