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Expect more outages as Ausgrid continues maintenance


If you’d arrived at my home with a blindfold on last night, you might have been fooled into believing you were at a florist, such was the unusual combination of scented candles getting a workout.

Sandalwood, bergamot, lime, citrus, vanilla, peach and marshmallow all blended into one kitchen dash living space, burning for what became hours.

But, it’s 2023 and I’d hardly been expecting my neighbourhood to be plunged into darkness at 8.30pm because of a blackout, planned or otherwise.

With zero notification, my humble abode went from 21st century to camping under the stars thanks to an Ausgrid outage that lasted well into the wee hours of Tuesday morning (12 December).

As the house went dark suddenly a text arrived from Ausgrid with the news it was conducting necessary maintenance in the area that could last four-to-eight hours.

The blame it seems, is on the recent high temperatures, with the Hunter electricity provider preparing for what is expected to be a summer of heatwaves.

High temperatures can impair the operation of key infrastructure like generators and transmission lines and unplanned power outages may occur,” it states on the Ausgrid website.

“As we all try to keep cool, the electricity network is put under added pressure. The impact on the network increases after multiple, consecutive hot days, as air conditioners increase output in response to accumulating heat in buildings.

Apparently scheduled planned outages are reviewed the day prior during a forecast heatwave – which must account for my lack of prior warning.

And, in areas where temperatures are forecast to reach 40 degrees, maintenance work is usually cancelled, except in cases where customers agree to the work going ahead.

If a planned outage is cancelled, each registered electricity account holder in the Ausgrid network area will be sent a cancellation notification by SMS. 

For my household, the 11 December outage advice SMS arrived within seconds of the lights going out.

That left nothing more to do but rummage about in dark cupboards for candles, which by pure luck all consisted of their own divine scent.

Now this could have been written as a complaint letter to one of the nation’s largest electricity providers suggesting they get their act together, and it could have involved chasing Ausgrid for media comment but instead it reads as a warning.

Get your candles ready, update your mobile number with your electricity provider and check on your provider’s website for a power outage map to stay updated.

You might also want to let vulnerable community members know too.

Forecasters are warning a long, hot summer ahead, you don’t want to be left in the dark.

And, here’s some other advice Ausgrid is offering its customers for free this summer:

Stay cool and save with our cooling tips

  • Set the right temperature – keeping your aircon between 23 to 26 degrees is optimal in summer. Each extra degree of cooling below that can add up to 10% to your running costs. Make use of your power save or eco setting if possible.
  • Use natural breezes to stay cool –  opening doors and windows on opposite sides of your home to take advantage of cross ventilation.
  • Keep the heat out – use blinds and awnings over windows to keep the heat off your home.
  • Use fans to move cool air around your home – a ceiling fan costs about 2 cents an hour to run or about $6 over a summer, a cheaper alternative to air conditioning the same space.
  • Spinning roof vents help reduce the temperature in the roof cavity.
  • If you have a pool only run the pool pump when required. 

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