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ATTENTION: Reduce electricity usage this afternoon

Canberrans are being urged to keep reducing their electrical use as much as possible given the ongoing risk of supply shortfalls later this afternoon.

“We’ve been in conversations throughout the day with the Australian Energy Market Operator. There remains a possibility of supply shortfalls in Canberra especially from mid to late afternoon,” Director-General, Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate Dorte Ekelund said.

Ms Ekelund said that any disruption would see ‘rotational load shedding’ to electricity supply.

“Load shedding occurs when the electricity supply to customers is interrupted because the electricity demand is higher than what the electricity system can supply at that particular time,” Ms Ekelund.

“If there is a disruption this could result in selected residential areas being switched off for a period of up to two hours on a scheduled basis.

“To help reduce the risk of this occurring, it is important households and businesses continue to do what they can to limit their electrical use. Despite the efforts people are making, the extreme heat means electricity usage is up about 15% on yesterday.

“We want people to still remain cool given the extreme heat but there’s several simple steps people can take to reduce the strain on the electricity system.”

Tips for residents to reduce electricity include:

  • turn off unnecessary residential lighting
  • restrict use of air conditioning (set temperature to 26oC or higher)
  • minimise use of cooking equipment
  • consolidate refrigeration and turn off unnecessary fridges
  • avoid use of dishwashers, clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners & second TV
  • turn off domestic pool pumping and heating operation for the day
  • avoid use of TVs or computers for game purposes
  • turn off appliances usually left in standby mode – including TVs, DVDs, videos, stereos, computers, microwave ovens, battery chargers and portable power supplies.

Tips for businesses to reduce electricity include:

  • limit the use of air conditioners to occupied spaces only and setting the thermostat to no less than 26°C
  • turn off unnecessary interior lighting, particularly in unoccupied spaces
  • turn off advertising lighting and any unnecessary exterior lighting
  • turn off heating appliances for swimming pools or spas
  • turn off appliances usually left in standby mode
  • turn off computer hard drives and screens unless in use
  • turn off water heating systems and urns.

“With expected peak demand between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm, it would also be great if workers can do things like turn off their lights and appliances on their way out of the office or building today which will also reduce energy use over the whole weekend.”

Ms Ekelund also encouraged workers to be mindful of their safety during the heat.

Tips for workers and employers:

  • reorganise work for cooler times of the day
  • avoid working near reflective surfaces such as water, cement, shiny metal or white painted sheds
  • rotate heavy work so each worker spends less time undertaking strenuous activity
  • wear sun protective clothing such as long-sleeved, closely-woven shirts, long trousers and a hat that protects the head, ears, nose and neck
  • wear eye protection sunglasses or safety glasses that filter out ultraviolet rays
  • use a SPF 15 or higher water-resistant sunscreen and reapply at least every two hours
  • take regular breaks in a cool shaded area and drink plenty of water.

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