Load shedding is sometimes necessary to protect the power grid in NSW, Victoria and South Australia from damage that may lead to longer interruptions for customers. It’s used as a last resort and may happen suddenly.
What is load shedding?
Load shedding is used as a last resort measure to balance the demand and supply of electricity across the National Electricity Market. The grid may become unstable if there not enough power supply to meet the demand for electricity from all customers. This can damage essential equipment within the grid, risking larger numbers of customers being without power for longer periods of time if load shedding were not used.
Load shedding occurs under the direction of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) who is responsible for maintaining the reliability and security of the National Electricity Market in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. All electricity networks use load shedding where necessary to deal with significant imbalances between the available supply and demand for power.
AEMO has developed a fact sheet explaining what load shedding is, why it occurs and how you can find out about how it affects you.
If load shedding is required, our interactive map will show the location and timeframe of affected customers.
Why does load shedding occur?
Load shedding may be necessary due to including:
- an unexpected loss of major electricity generator due to equipment failure
- damage to transmission lines during a severe storm
- a combination of heatwave conditions and very high levels of power consumption by customers.
AEMO makes the decision on how much electricity consumption needs to be reduced. Endeavour Energy determines how our portion of the load will be shed across our network.
Endeavour Energy’s first priority is always to safety. We aim to minimise the impact on hospitals and nursing homes and places where large numbers of people may depend on electricity for their safety. On the rare occasion load shedding is necessary, we try to ‘share the load’ to minimise the impact on any single group of customers.
Am I going to lose my power?
If load shedding is required, see our outage application showing the location and timeframe of affected customers.
Load shedding occurs under direction of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). As the independent market and system operator, AEMO’s primary role is to maintain the reliability and security of the National Electricity Market and load shedding occurs under their direction.
How long will my power be off?
If Endeavour Energy is directed to load shed, some customers will be interrupted at short notice for up to two hours and may experience power outages. If load shedding is required for more than two hours, areas may be rotated to lessen the impact on customers.
These areas will be spread across the network to minimise the impact on any one community. Our outage application will show the location and timeframe of the areas affected.
How are the areas for load shedding chosen?
No one region is targeted specifically for load shedding. Instead, we spread the disruption across the network.
We avoid interrupting sensitive loads such as major hospitals, central business districts and public transport where the loss of electricity would present a serious risk to public safety.
Please note we are unable to exclude individual customers from load shedding. If you have medical equipment at home which requires electricity to operate, act on your back-up plan which should include suitable alternative arrangements for the times you are without power.
Please remember, always dial triple zero (000) in a medical emergency and ask for an ambulance.
What can I do?
To help save electricity and help avoid load shedding, customers should turn off non-essential appliances like pool pumps, clothes driers and dishwashers or delay their use until after 8 pm when demand for electricity reduces across the network. Use fans to keep your home cool instead of the air conditioner.
NSW Health advises people to:
- stay well hydrated and avoid drinking alcohol and hot or sugary drinks
- close windows and use curtains or blinds to keep the sun out
- if you need air conditioning for comfort, spend time in air-conditioned places like shopping centres, libraries or cinemas
The NSW Food Authority advises freezers will usually not defrost and allow food to spoil for at least 24 hours, provided the door is kept shut.