Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday slammed authorities of South Australia (SA) state over four massive power outages in five months during a 40 degrees Celsius heatwave.

South Australians are expected to experience more blackouts on Thursday following a decision on Wednesday evening to deliberately cut power in almost 40,000 homes by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which said it was forced to do so due to “a lack of available generation supply in SA”, Xinhua news agency reported.

Turnbull said SA’s over-reliance on wind energy was “putting homes and businesses at risk”, and that the state’s Premier, Jay Weatherill, needs to do more to ensure his citizens have power in such a dangerous heatwave.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, told Sky News that South Australia was in the “danger zone”, and Weatherill was delivering “third-world” conditions to the people of South Australia, including to those in the major city of Adelaide.

“Wind power, which can provide more than 40 and sometimes 50 per cent and even up to 80 per cent of South Australia’s power at any one time, was providing 2.5 percent of South Australia’s power (during the heatwave),” said Frydenberg.

The Energy Minister said the state government should look to re-open a coal-fired power plant which was closed in May, 2016 – just before blackouts started becoming an issue in the state.

Following the comments from both Turnbull and the Energy Minister, Weatherill on Thursday called on the federal government to assist the state in coming up with a solution instead of taking pot shots from the sidelines.

This week’s blackouts are the fourth major occurrence since September last year; the first major blackout occurred in September when 1.7 million homes were left without power, while similar events also happened in December and January.

First Published | 9 February 2017 10:29 AM
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