Surge of power out­ages in Aus­trala­sia

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

Power man­age­ment com­pany Ea­ton Black­out Tracker An­nual Re­port for New Zealand and Aus­tralia shows Ea­ton’s an­nual Black­out Tracker Re­port re­veals a 27 per­cent surge in power out­ages af­fect­ing more than 1.7 mil­lion peo­ple in 2017.

New Zealand black­outs in­creased by 36 per­cent, with the North Is­land faced with wide­spread snow­storms, a big scrub fire and Cy­clone Cook, while across the Tas­man over­all power out­ages in­creased by 19 per­cent, with Queens­land over­tak­ing New South Wales as the top black­out state after Cy­clone Deb­bie caused dev­as­ta­tion along the east coast in March.

Gor­don Makryl­los, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Aus­tralia and New Zealand at Ea­ton In­dus­tries said while the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple af­fected by power out­ages al­most halved in 2017, busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als should still be wary as there was a higher fre­quency of small-scale black­outs and the aver­age du­ra­tion of out­ages in­creased by 39 per­cent.

“With al­most three out of four black­outs caused by weather, fall­ing trees, faulty equip­ment or hu­man er­ror – it is clear that many power out­ages are un­ex­pected and of­ten un­avoid­able, which serves as a timely re­minder for busi­nesses to re­view their power backup and dis­as­ter re­cov­ery plans to en­sure IT sys­tems and data are pro­tected in the event of a power dis­rup­tion.”

In Aus­tralia, an EMC Global Data Pro­tec­tion In­dex that sur­veyed

125 Aus­tralian com­pa­nies found the aver­age or­gan­i­sa­tion ex­pe­ri­ences ap­prox­i­mately three days of un­ex­pected down­time per year, with data loss and other con­se­quences to­talling around AUD70 bil­lion. The sur­vey also showed that the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents not fully con­fi­dent in their abil­ity to re­cover after dis­rup­tion.

“In the cur­rent era of dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity and data de­pen­dency, the cost of power out­ages can be sig­nif­i­cant for any busi­ness – in par­tic­u­lar those that have data col­lec­tion tech­nol­ogy in lo­ca­tions where re­cov­ery pro­cesses are com­plex and hard to reach. To re­duce the risk of data loss, down­time and in­creased costs, it is im­por­tant to have un­in­ter­rupt­ible power sys­tems (UPSs), gen­er­a­tors and power man­age­ment soft­ware so­lu­tions that can de­liver backup power dur­ing out­ages.”


Adding fuel to the fire, Feb. 15 – Christchurch: Wide­spread power out­ages re­sulted after smoke or flames from fires caused a Trans­power 220 kV line to trip. Some 89,000 cus­tomers were left with­out elec­tric­ity for 30 min­utes.

A power em­ployee’s ‘Oops’, March 2 – Christchurch: A util­ity sup­ply rep­re­sen­ta­tive said it “strongly sus­pected” that main­te­nance work near Trizel in­ad­ver­tently led to a power cut that left 60,000 cus­tomers in the dark.

Too many Cooks, April 13 – Hawke’s Bay: Cy­clone Cook caused land­slips and brought down trees and power lines across much of the North Is­land, cut­ting power to 13,000 homes and busi­nesses — a few hun­dred of which were in the dark for two and a half days.

In the line of fire, Feb. 5 – Ruakaka: A three- hectare scrub fire led to a black­out for 30,000 cus­tomers after flames erupted un­der a main feeder line.

Crash course, Jul 29 – Whanganui: A nine- day-long black­out re­sulted after a ve­hi­cle hit a power pole, snap­ping it off at the bot­tom. The force of the crash cut the power ca­ble to a house and pulled the power con­nec­tion from un­der the eaves, re­sult­ing in the lengthy out­age.

Cut­ting it too fine, Aug 7 – Hawke’s Bay: Power was cut to 5,000 when a con­trac­tor ac­ci­dently drove his road­side lawn mower into a wire fence – caus­ing it to spring up and hit power lines.

Hit­ting the skids, Oct 12 – Kerik­eri: A ‘boy racer’ do­ing skids caused a six- hour power out­age to 700 cus­tomers, flee­ing on foot after his car de­mol­ished a power pole.

In­ter­est­ing out­ages in Aus­tralia were caused by an ‘uniden­ti­fied crit­ter’ that man­aged to make its way into a sub­sta­tion and, de­spite pro­tec­tive de­vices be­ing in­stalled on equip­ment, man­aged to out 18,000 cus­tomers for 150 min­utes; a fault on the Gold Coast that left peo­ple stranded on mul­ti­ple rides at Movie World for 10 min­utes; a Townsville out­age to 1200 cus­tomers at the start of the NRL Grand Fi­nal and a fur­ther 2000 af­fected in Bris­bane the same night due to a ‘rogue animal’.

Black­out Tracker An­nual Re­port data is based on a full year of re­ported power out­ages across Aus­tralia and New Zealand.



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