Power outages across the region

UPDATE 4.30PM: Extreme temperatures and near-record electricity consumption levels have put additional strain on the power system, causing widespread outages.

The Australian Energy Market Operator - the organisation responsible for managing supply and demand for electricity - released a warning on Wednesday afternoon that it may need to reduce the amount of electricity being supplied to Victoria.

This reduction could affect up to 100,000 homes and commercial properties in Victoria.

AEMO has advised that the power outages will not affect any hospitals, nursing homes, public transport or emergency services.

It said both Victoria and South Australia were due to almost double their average daily electricity use due to the intense heat.

"Victoria and South Australia have recorded the highest levels of electricity consumption since January 2009, with a maximum demand of 10,151 MW recorded in Victoria and 3,046 MW recorded in South Australia (Tuesday)" the operator noted.

The operator said the "high electricity consumption and some unplanned outages on the generation network has triggered the potential for load shedding to occur".

Load shedding can sometimes be required when there is an imbalance between electricity demand and electricity supply.

When there is a shortfall in the electricity supply, there can be a need to reduce demand very quickly to an acceptable level, or risk the entire electricity network becoming unstable.

Load shedding if required, generally commences with industrial and commercial customers prior to any residential customers.

This involves electricity customers being without power for defined periods.

EARLIER: A PRIME mover that crashed into a power pole has been among the causes of power outages across central Victoria.

The truck ploughed into a pole on High Street, Maldon just after 11.30pm Tuesday.

Powercor staff attended a short time later and disconnected power to 48 customers. The power supply has been restored to most homes and all affected customers should be reconnected by 2pm Wednesday.

Castlemaine Police Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said the crash was still under investigation.

The 60-year-old truck driver from Skipton was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Powercor has listed a number of other outages across central Victoria, including 541 outages in Costerfield, near Heatchote Tuesday.

The affected customers lost power at 4.45pm and were restored by 10.15pm.

Powercor spokesman Lyall Johnson said it was believed to have been caused by a tripped circuit, due to the heat.

Mr Johnson said Bendigo was spared the worst of the outages that swept across the state Tuesday.

"In the Bendigo area the largest one we had was 521 customers out at one point… Across Western Victoria we had about 20,000 customers off supply and another 14,000 off supply in Melbourne." 

One home in Karinyah Drive, Myers Flat has been without power since Monday afternoon. It was unclear when that property would be reconnected.

Two properties in Muskerry, near Goornong, were disconnected 5pm Monday and have not been told when their power will return.

Only one outage was recorded in Bendigo on Wednesday, with a home in Smith Street, North Bendigo disconnected at 6.40am. Power is expected to be back on at that property by 3pm.

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