SA avoids second day of blackouts

Tim Dornin

South Australia has dodged a second night of widespread blackouts with extra electricity generation brought on line as heatwave conditions continued, pushing the state's energy network to the limit.

A second generation unit at the gas-powered Pelican Point power station was fired up on Thursday afternoon with the Australian Energy Market Operator revising a notice of a potential shortfall in supply despite the demand for electricity approaching record levels.

That followed Wednesday's blackout of up to 90,000 properties across Adelaide and parts of regional SA - more than double the original estimate of 40,000 - when AEMO ordered SA Power Networks to reduce demand by 100 megawatts.

The latest blackouts, also known as load shedding, prompted the state government to vow to go it alone in the quest for reliable and cheaper power.

Amid growing frustration with the operation of the National Electricity Market, Premier Jay Weatherill said all options were on the table and the government would take dramatic action to take control of the state's energy future.

"We are going to take our own decisions, we are going to take control of our own future and our own destiny," the premier said on Thursday.

"It will be thoughtful, methodical policy-making but it will be dramatic and it will change the system and give us reliable, affordable and clean power."

Mr Weatherill said more details of SA's plans to secure energy supplies would be provided once decisions had been made, although it has already called for tenders for a new gas-fired power station.

The premier also declined to rule out completely nationalising the state's energy production despite the risks and costs of breaking contracts.

"It is not a preferred option. (But) We are ruling nothing out at this point," he said.

Mr Weatherill's strong words came as Adelaide sweltered through another scorcher with a top temperature of 41C.

Many regional centres went even higher, Tarcoola the hottest with a top of 48.2C

As temperatures climbed on Thursday AEMO expressed concern for a two-hour period in the late afternoon but later confirmed extra generation had been added to the network.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said Pelican Point's second generation unit had been turned on, action the government argues could have been taken to avoid Wednesday's blackouts.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the latest SA power crisis as a disgrace and again pointed the finger at the state's heavy reliance on renewables.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said SA's energy grid was a basket case and the state government's incompetence had subjected consumers to third-world conditions.

Mr Weatherill said South Australians were fed up with a lack of action from the federal government to fix the national electricity market.

"South Australians are not prepared to put up with being ridiculed and have the finger pointed at them by a federal government that has abdicated its responsibilities," he said.