Photographer: Jeremy Piper/Bloomberg

South Australia in State-Wide Power Failure as Storms Hit

The entire state of South Australia lost electricity after severe winds and storms lashed the region, according to Adelaide-based SA Power Networks.

The distributor, which services about 850,000 homes and businesses, said that Australia’s fourth-largest state by area is currently without power and there is “no upstream supply from the transmission network.” The national energy market operator said the failure occurred when South Australia’s electricity market disconnected from Victoria state’s. It suspended the spot market for power in South Australia and said that the issue had not caused supply disruptions in Victoria.

The Australian Energy Market Operator said it “is working closely with transmission network service provider ElectraNet to identify and understand the severity of the fault, as well as determine a power restoration time.”

The national Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning, noting the risks from a vigorous cold front moving across the state. It predicted winds averaging up to 75 kilometers (47 miles) per hour, with gusts of up to 140 kilometers an hour. There “may be outages for an extended period,” State Premier Jay Weatherill said in a separate posting on Twitter.

“We don’t know how long it will take to restore power, but people should prepare for it to take at least several hours,” ElectraNet said by e-mail. “SA Power Networks will then progressively restore supply to their customers as it is safe to do so.”

The storm “has had a dramatic and unfortunate impact on electricity supply into South Australia," Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told Sky News. “We cannot see a repeat of these events either in South Australia or in other parts of the network because of the implications it has for the community.”

Companies with operations in the state include BHP Billiton Ltd., owner of the Olympic Dam project, copper and gold producer Oz Minerals Ltd., and gas producer Santos Ltd. Adelaide Airport said in a Twitter posting it was working to bring back-up power capacity online for the state’s main aviation gateway.

SA Power Networks is 51 percent owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. and Power Assets Holdings, while the remaining 49 percent is owned by Spark Infrastructure Group, according to the distributor’s website. ElectraNet is owned by State Grid Corp. of China, Malaysia’s YTL Power International Bhd and Hastings Investment Management Pty Ltd., according to its website.

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