AEMO caps prices, warns Queenslanders to conserve power

Transmission towers at sunrise (cigre)
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Australia’s energy market operator (AEMO) has capped wholesale electricity prices across the entire East Coast as well as South Australia, and late yesterday warned Queensland could face blackouts.

Earlier this month, AEMO capped wholesale gas prices in southern states and activated for the first time a guarantee mechanism to call on more gas supply, as heating demand spiked amid a cold snap. Queensland had been excluded.

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AEMO said electricity spot prices in Queensland had reached a cumulative high price threshold that had triggered the administered price cap.

Powerlink CEO Paul Simshauser yesterday asked Queenslanders to try and manage their electricity consumption from 5pm Monday evening and again Tuesday morning due to a forecast possible shortfall in electricity supply.

“There is an unusual combination of unexpected generator outages plus cool Winter temperatures and high demand for electricity. Gas supplies are sufficient however very high gas prices means AEMO has already triggered its market generation response mechanisms,” Simhauser said.

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He said by managing electricity consumption—especially in the evening and early morning—Queenslanders could help ensure that available supply was used in the fairest and most efficient manner across industry, the community and essential services.

“By carefully managing electricity use at home and in your workplace, the community can help ensure that power system security is maintained in Queensland,” Simshauser said.

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