SA parliament to look into blackout


A South Australian parliamentary committee will investigate September 28's statewide blackout amid a host of other inquiries into the major outage.

The upper house committee will look into what caused the state to go black as well as the delays in supply recovery and cost to households and businesses.

Opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan says the outage plunged South Australia into "unprecedented chaos".

"This select committee will investigate what happened and what can be done to prevent this from happening again," he said on Thursday.

The parliamentary inquiry comes amid a host of other investigations after SA was lashed by severe thunderstorms which brought down major transmissions lines in the state's north. A number of wind farms switched off as a safety precaution and the interconnector with Victoria shutdown.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has already presented some interim findings and says five system faults occurred within 88 seconds, eventually shutting down the state's entire electricity network.

But it said the intermittent nature of wind energy was "not a material factor" in the blackout.

At a state level former SA police commissioner Gary Burns has been asked to look into the state's response to the outage, as well as how prepared it was to deal with such a situation and what prevention measures had been put in place.

A federal panel chaired by chief scientist Alan Finkel is reviewing the National Energy Market with a view to providing federal and state energy ministers with a blueprint for security across the national grid.

Earlier this week a report by the Bureau of Meterology said at least seven tornadoes ripped through SA on the day of the blackout, some producing winds of up to 260km/h.