Massive Demand, Huge Prices, Load Shedding and the Cumulative Price Threshold (and lessons learnt?)

Wednesday 28th January saw demand across the NEM jump to unprecedented levels, setting a new record of 34,843MW at 16:00 NEM time. On Thursday 29th January, we saw the demand increase still further, leading to prices that stayed high for much of the day (to the point where the Cumulative Price Threshold was reached in VIC and SA and price caps were imposed), and a relatively small amount of involuntary load shedding occurring in VIC and SA.

New record all-time NEM-wide demand (and for VIC and SA) today!

The day is not over yet, but we thought you would be interested in the attached snapshot highlighting the first of the occasions on the day when prices jumped to VOLL in SA and VIC as a result of searing temperatures stopping the tennis, and melting VIC and SA into new demand records for each region.

Links to external reports relating to the blackout

Following from the blackout, several government bodies, and industry organisations completed reviews of the events leading up to the blackout. For completeness, these reports (at least, those we are aware of) have been listed in this article.

Our review of the heat wave in South Australia

With demand soaring, and interconnectors constrained, generators in South Australia and Victoria took what opportunity they had to force the price high. So successful were the South Australian generators that the Cumulative Price Threshold was reached in South Australia and, under NEM Rules, an Administered Price Cap was applied for a period of time.

March 2008 – Massive Heat-Wave hits SA & Victoria

In March 2008 (after summer had officially ended) South Australians were forced to endure a record 15 straight days of temperatures climbing above 35ºC. Victorians also experienced extreme heat for a number of days. This sweltering weather forced demand through…

16th January 2007 – Bushfires and Victoria’s blackout

Victoria experiences a large blackout in the afternoon and evening of 16 January 2007, when bush fires cause three main transmission lines to trip. This created chaos throughout much of Melbourne, and represented perhaps the most significant stress the NEM…

11th January 2007 – first spike in demand above 30,000MW

There was a temperature-driven spike in demand across the NEM later in the week beginning Sunday 7th January – culminating in the summer’s first demand peak above 30,000MW (on Thursday 11th January).

On this occasion, the spot price spiked above $1000/MWh in Queensland, NSW, Snowy and Victoria,