A wide area of South Australia was plunged into darkness overnight when an interstate power supply connector failed.
Just after 10:00pm on Sunday, parts of Adelaide, the Barossa Valley, Port Pirie and the state’s west coast region lost electricity supply.
The interconnector from Victoria failed and South Australia was disconnected from the national electricity grid.
Electricity supplier ElectraNet said SA faced blackouts because there was an incident at a substation at Mingbool in the state’s south-east, which triggered automatic load shedding.
Distributor SA Power Networks said about 110,000 customers were affected and it took three hours to restore the supply.
Spokesman Paul Roberts said a customer helpline was overwhelmed by the numbers of people trying to call.
“When you get a large number of customers all going off at once, it does put pressure on even the most robust of systems,” he said.
In a statement, SA Power Networks told its customers: “SA Power Networks does not generate electricity – we are reliant on upstream supply.
“In this case, the loss of capacity from Victoria resulted in automatic load shedding to avoid wider issues.”
Mr Roberts said problems could occur beyond SA Power Networks’ control because it was just the distributor of the supply at state level.
“It is about systems stability in the end and protection equipment operates to protect that stability that we all rely on, because if it doesn’t operate then it will actually get a lot worse,” he said.
“We always rely to some extent on the Victorian interconnector, it’s been there for some 25-30 years, it is part of our supply mix.”
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