Blackout plans standard: Tas government

By Andrew Drummond
Tasmania's Labor opposition has revealed government discussions for planned residential blackouts.

Secret plans to enact suburban blackouts amid Tasmania's energy supply crisis have been rubbished by the state government.

In parliament on Tuesday, Opposition Leader Bryan Green revealed data from supplier Tas Networks that preparations are in place for "load shedding" at specific suburbs and town across the island.

"When will the plan to cut power to homes be enacted and what will be the trigger?" Mr Green asked.

He added that documents show the government has been engaged in "active discussions" about the plan for some three months.

Energy Minister Matthew Groom said the opposition was running a scare campaign and that it is normal for governments across the country to always have contingency plans.

"These processes are standard processes that are in place the whole time," the minister said.

"That is the standard national regulatory arrangement."

Following record low summer rainfall, Tasmania's hydro dam levels on Monday dipped to 13.6 per cent and are forecast to reach 12 per cent in coming weeks.

If levels reach 6.5 per cent, it will not be viable to use the dams for hydro-electric generation.

A Bass Strait energy cable feeding electricity from the mainland is also broken and not due back online until mid-May at the earliest.

The state government is spending scores of millions of dollars to hire and install diesel generators to keep the lights on across Tasmania in a move Mr Groom said is the best backup option.

"I make no apology for the fact that we are acting responsibly in response to this extreme weather event," he told the lower house.

"What you are seeing happen in Tasmania right now is effectively the construction of a major power plant in a matter of weeks. Something that would normally take 12 months or 18 months is happening in a matter of weeks in this state."

Calls for electricity rationing have been refused by the government.

Premier Will Hodgman said he got a positive response from fellow state and territory leaders in Canberra on Friday when he raised the possibility of a second Bass Strait cable to provide further energy supply certainty.