Transpower boss says system is working as it should after latest power shortage warning

Transpower says there is no need to increase buffer capacity after a second blackout warning in six days.

No households experienced power outages due to low generation capacity yesterday.
Photo: RNZ / Russel Palmer

In the latest incident, the grid operator was forced to ask suppliers to increase production due to high demand expected last night.

The line company warned households about outages if there was not enough power in the network. The peak period was from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. In the end, there was no loss of electricity for households.

“Last night we issued a warning to industry called a Consumer Advisory Notice (CAN) letting them know that we had a low level of residual production for the evening peak last night,” the chief executive said. of Transpower, Alison Andrew. morning report.

“Residual production is the difference between forecast demand and production offered in the market – a bit like having reserves in the reservoir.

“We issue these advisories when we have less than 200 megawatts of residual generation, enough power for about 200,000 homes, and the reason we had low residual last night was due to higher than expected and at the same time less wind generation available on the market.”

She said the generators responded well and offered more generation in the system, meaning no consumers were disturbed.

There was enough buffer capacity in case of cold and clear weather creating production problems during the winter, she added.

Andrew said she had faith in the system, which worked as it was supposed to in situations like this.

“The number of times we’ve had insufficient production to meet supply about once every five years and in all of those situations, with the exception of August 9 of last year, we managed to go into controlling demand and consumers had not had their supply interrupted.”

The emergency alert sent last week was also linked to lost production capacity.

One of Contact Energy’s gas turbines in Stratford failed to start and Genesis Energy reported an outage at its Huntly plant and the wind fell from a forecast 170 megawatts to just 30.

“The network emergency that happened last week was that we actually had a problem on the morning peak Thursday morning just before 8 a.m. and in order for us to maintain proper security, we had a problem because that we had lost the generation of three sources,” she said.

It was up to industry and regulators to determine whether that capacity needed to be increased, Andrew added.

Outages in the Wellington suburbs of Miramar and Seatoun and Johnsonville, affecting nearly 1,000 customers, were unrelated, she said.

The Electricity Authority said last week’s power generation emergency was well handled by Transpower.

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