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Supply and Demand Management

Load Shedding

The term load shedding is used to describe switching off electricity supply to parts of the electricity network. This includes switching off customers who are connected to the effected part of the network. While this practice is rare, it is a critical part of network safety management practices when certain circumstances arise. All electricity networks include load shedding as an essential part of dealing with supply imbalances in the network. While this practice is rare, it is a critical part of network safety management practices when certain circumstances arise.  All electricity networks include load shedding as an essential part of dealing with supply imbalances in the network. 

What causes load shedding?

Load shedding can be triggered by a number of factors; however, they are caused by an imbalance in demand (customers’ usage) and supply (the ability of the electricity network to generate and transport the required amount of electricity to meet the demand).

It’s usually a combination of three factors that could cause a supply and demand imbalance:

  • Weather: strong winds, storms, bushfires or extended periods of hot days
  • Generation: difficulty generating enough supply or unexpected loss of generation
  • Asset Damage: caused by a system fault or a significant weather event

Examples of how a combination of these factors can result in a load shedding event could be: periods of sustained hot weather when the consumption of electricity exceeds the available supply, or an unexpected loss of generation or damage to transmission equipment such as transmission towers.

Types of load shedding

There are two main types of load shedding:

  • Automatic load shedding – when equipment in the electricity network automatically switches off load to protect the network.  This is normally associated with a sudden and unexpected disruption on the electricity network such as a sudden loss of a major generation source. 
  • Manual load shedding – is usually triggered when demand moves towards maximum supply levels and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has time to direct network businesses to load shed (AEMO typically provides up to 30 minutes notice).  This helps to restore the supply and demand balance.

In particular circumstances, for example when directed to load shed by AEMO, the loss of supply is shared across groups of customers.  In In this circumstance, customers are usually only off supply for one to two hours before the outage is shifted to a different area on the network.

What do you need to do?

While we don’t want any customers to be without power, we cannot guarantee there won’t be outages. The best thing to do is be prepared. You are encouraged to read our Preparing for Power Outages page.

For further information please read AEMO’s fact sheet on load shedding.

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Faults and emergencies

To report faults or emergencies,
contact our 24 hour customer service line on 13 17 99 or email us on
faultsinfoline@ausnetservices.com.au