Storms knock out power to whole of South Australia

Police direct traffic in the central business district of Adelaide after severe storms and thousands of lightning strikes knocked out power to the entire state of South Australia.
Police direct traffic in the central business district of Adelaide after severe storms and thousands of lightning strikes knocked out power to the entire state of South Australia. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY • Severe storms and thousands of lightning strikes knocked out power to the entire state of South Australia yesterday, the energy authorities said.

South Australia is the country's fifth most populous state, with 1.7 million people, and a major wine producer and traditional manufacturing hub.

"No upstream supply from the transmission network. State currently without power," state energy provider SA Power Networks said in a statement.

The Bureau of Meteorology said a vigorous cold front was moving across the state, with an intense low pressure system due today.

"We'll have gale-force winds and large seas (across the south of the country); also heavy rain and thunderstorms, which will lead to renewed river rises," it said on its website. "Currently, though, we have gale-force wind warnings for the coastal waters extending from Perth all the way across to Adelaide."

DAMAGING IMPACT

There were more than 21,000 lightning strikes recorded over a 12-hour period from midday yesterday on the West Coast and, as a result, it is likely some damage has occurred to our distribution network.

SA POWER NETWORKS, which services about 850,000 homes and businesses.

SA Power Networks, which services about 850,000 homes and businesses, said repairs to its transmission network were expected to be completed later in the day.

"There were more than 21,000 lightning strikes recorded over a 12-hour period from midday yesterday on the West Coast, and as a result, it is likely some damage has occurred to our distribution network," it said yesterday.

No power was flowing from the neighbouring state of Victoria into South Australia, said a spokesman for the Australian Energy Market Operator, which operates the power systems in southern and eastern Australia.

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."

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2016, with the headline 'Storms knock out power to whole of South Australia'. Print Edition | Subscribe