SA to push for electricity sharing

By Tim Dornin
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Power cut to SA as interconnector fails

More than 45,000 property across SA lost power as an interconnector with Victoria failed.

South Australia will push for national action to boost energy sharing between states after a blackout cut power to about 110,000 homes and businesses across Adelaide and parts of SA.

The cause of Sunday night's blackout has been traced to an electricity substation in the state's southeast.

The fault brought down the 275,000 volt interconnector between South Australia and Victoria, causing a series of rolling blackouts as automatic safety systems began load shedding.

Properties were affected from Sellicks Beach, south of Adelaide, across the metropolitan area and north into the Barossa Valley with services in some areas out for more than two hours.

The Australian Energy Market Operator is investigating the incident along with transmission companies ElectraNet and SA Power Networks.

But Premier Jay Weatherill says there are also broader issues surrounding the power network's ongoing stability.

"We have a network at the moment which would be more stable if there were greater interconnections through to Queensland," Mr Weatherill said on Monday.

"But there are a whole range of regulatory matters that prevent that from occurring."

Mr Weatherill said SA would seek to advance those discussions at a national level.

He has also ruled out South Australia's growing reliance on wind power as a factor in Sunday night's load shedding.

SA Power Networks said once the interconnector with Victoria went down it was powerless to prevent the blackouts as automatic systems kicked in to prevent wider issues.

It said while the link to Victoria was restored before midnight it took until about 1am to restore power to all customers.

"SA Power Networks does not generate electricity, we are reliant on upstream supply," the company said.

There were no reports of incidents, including road crashes, related to the blackout which shut down traffic lights across Adelaide.

Some people with medical conditions were forced to rely on personal generators or other back-up supplies.

Hundreds took to Twitter and other social networks to comment, some seeing the funny side of being plunged into the dark by predicting a baby boom in nine months time.

SA Power Networks spokesman Paul Roberts said it would review the incident to determine how it could have been handled better.

"It certainly caught everyone by surprise last night," he said.