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Energy Crisis: Rolling Forced Blackouts Underway In Victoria Amid Heatwave

Around 60,000 Victorians are experiencing power outages after the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) directed load shedding across the grid.

At 12.30pm on Friday, the AEMO ordered load shedding to commence across the state to maintain power system security.

Load shedding occurs when demand is too great, so the energy authority directs power companies to create rolling blackouts in different parts of the network so the entire system is not at risk.

"AEMO has instructed load shedding of approximately 200 megawatts (MW) and as a result, approximately 60,000 Victorian customers are expected to be affected by power outages as a result of electricity supply disruptions," AEMO said in a statement.

IMAGE: AAP

The forced cutbacks in power supply comes as Melbourne is forecast to experience it's hottest day in a decade.

"It's all because, you know, we're balancing the weather, additional heat is stressing the generators," AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman said.

We have one generator who has had some problems and they have been really struggling to stay on, but they're having to reduce to protect the machinery.

Households and businesses may experience blackouts but places like hospitals, nursing homes and childcare centres will not be affected.

"We may have to do more in the afternoon as the demand increases," Audrey Zibelman told reporters at a press conference.

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Zibelman also called on households and businesses to avoid wasting energy by putting off using energy-hungry dishwashers and washing machines until later in the evening.

The blackouts are occurring as authorities battle an out-of-control bushfire which is threatening homes in the state’s east.

Victoria has had an extended period of warm days over the last week, contributing to a high level of electricity demand across the network.

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"We’ve had to limit supply to some areas to ensure key infrastructure is protected. We may have to limit supply to some areas for up to two hours," AusNet Services energy provider told its customers on its Facebook page.

‪Power outages are being reported in including Glenroy, Oak Park, Broadmeadows, Essendon, Strathmore, Southbank and Chadstone‬.

A list of regions impacted can be found here.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au