Were you affected by the blackouts in WA last summer? Heat waves, in combination with the energy demands of the festive season, resulted in 107,000 homes being without power. It was frustrating, to say the least! Unfortunately this summer is likely to be similar. But there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family.
Are more blackouts on the way?
In December 2021, a heat wave rolled across Perth, Peel, South-West and Mid-West WA causing energy use to skyrocket, and the grid just couldn’t keep up. Blackouts affected 107,000 homes during the festive season, a time we all like to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.
Unfortunately, this summer is again expected to be hotter than usual, with record-breaking heat likely. This means a greater demand on the grid. At a time when one of WA’s power plants has been temporarily closed and a major coal mine has gone into receivership, this increased demand coincides with a shortfall in capacity. If demand becomes too much, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) may employ load shedding - selecting parts of the grid to be shut off.
The WA government is expecting more blackouts this year and has been preparing to warn affected customers with text messages to curb demand. And you know it’s serious when they’re running an ad campaign advising customers to reduce their power usage between 5-9pm!
In short, more blackouts are expected this summer.
Why do we have blackouts?
At any time of year, blackouts can be caused by vehicle collisions, tampering animals and excavations resulting in a downed power line or underground cable issue. Increasingly, climate-related natural disasters are causing high winds, lightning and flooding that can damage power lines and electricity poles.
Significantly, energy supply is at an all time low in WA, and coal is becoming less reliable (and more expensive). As mentioned previously, blackouts can happen when there is a significant increase in demand, and supply isn’t able to meet it. The AEMO takes measures to protect supply but may need to resort to load shedding for certain areas.
This might result in your home losing power.
What can you do to prepare for a blackout?
Now that you know blackouts are expected this summer, you can prepare.
First, put together a blackout emergency kit with a torch (preferably a wind-up torch that doesn't include batteries), candles (battery-powered LED electric ones are best), power banks to recharge mobile phones, a battery-powered radio, and spare batteries. If you have a wood-burning stove and a BBQ, you can use that for heating and cooking. We recommend you have a first aid kit, some non-perishable food items and drinking water too.
Your fridge and freezer is the next big consideration. Plan to keep those closed during a blackout as much as possible, and keep a fridge thermometer to check that food is safe to eat. Food stored in your fridge above 5°C for longer than four hours will need to be discarded.
Most importantly, consider protecting your home with a solar + battery solution, which can safeguard you against the worst inconveniences of a blackout.
The best protection: a solar + battery solution
Plico has always said batteries should be included with solar, and blackout protection is one of the major benefits. Plico's solar + battery systems can operate independently from the grid during an outage, providing clean energy to a dedicated back-up circuit. When your solar + battery solution is installed, we connect it to a back-up circuit. This allows you to generate, store and use energy for anything that is connected to the back-up circuit, even when there is a blackout.
Our members love the blackout protection a Plico solar + battery solution provides. One of Plico’s members (Luke from Vasse) said “our neighbour had to tell us that the power was out because it was business as usual in our house!”. Plico members often enjoy being the only house on the street with the lights still on.
You can read more about Plico’s blackout protection here. Then give us a call and then you can relax knowing you’ll be protected from future blackouts with Plico.
If you’d like to enjoy the next blackout watching Netflix on your TV with sufficient lighting and a cold fridge, don’t delay - book in your obligation-free call today. You can view our different solar + battery systems by clicking here or calculate your projected savings with our Solar Savings Calculator. You can also get in touch with one of our switched-on team members by calling 1300 175 426 to see how a solar + battery system can help you save.