EnergyAustralia explains reasons for blackouts

Yallourn Power Station

A statement from EnergyAustralia’s executive – Energy Mark Collette has revealed a boiler leak and scheduled maintenance on generators at Yallourn power station were causes for blackouts.

Mr Collette says EnergyAustralia had two units offline at the Yallourn power station in Victoria. Unit 3 was withdrawn from service around midnight on Thursday with a boiler leak, which occurred on Wednesday night. The company was able to keep the unit online throughout Thursday but it experienced significant deterioration.

“Keeping this unit online helped make sure no homes were without power on Thursday. Unfortunately, we could not keep the unit on for Friday,” Mr Collette said in a statement.

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Unit 4 at the power station had been offline for regular maintenance, which are required to be serviced every 3500 hours of generation, or four to five months.

Work on Unit 4 was postponed twice in January, including once at short notice to provide capacity during heatwaves in Victoria and New South Wales. By the time the unit came offline it was beyond the normal length of service.

“A contributing factor to the timing of Unit 4 was the outage on Unit 3 which ran into January,” Mr Collette said.

“We strive to keep at least three Yallourn units online at any time because the weather is unpredictable.

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“Once the heat in mid-January had passed, we took Unit 4 offline for maintenance with the three other Yallourn units in service. At that time the extreme heat that eventuated on Thursday and Friday was not in the forecast. Had the extreme weather been apparent, we would have considered delaying the outage again.

“Even if we had kept Unit 4 online, the potential of a forced outage remained. After almost five months online, this unit needed maintenance.

Mr Collette says with a few hot months ahead, EnergyAustralia is doing everything it can to have Yallourn online to supply power.