Wednesday, 05 April 2017 02:23

Power blackouts hit 3 million in Australia, NZ Featured

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Three million people across Australia and New Zealand were affected by more than 240 power outages in 2016 with New South Wales topping the list of Australian states for the third year in a row with 33 power outages.

According to the latest annual blackout tracker from power management company Eaton, every state or region in Australia and New Zealand recorded a rise in power outages during 2016.

And, while NSW had the largest number of power outages, widespread power failures in South Australia had the biggest impact on individuals and businesses.

Eaton says the rise in power outrages highlights an increasing need for businesses and consumers to look at the power management strategies and disaster recovery plans they have in place.

On a global scale, Gordon Makryllos, managing director Australia and New Zealand at Eaton, says the costs associated with power failures has continued to rise for businesses across the globe.

“The 2016 Cost of Data Centre Outages report by the Ponemon Institute has found the average cost of a data centre outage in 2015 was a staggering $740,357, up 38% from 2010.”

Makryllos says that while summer heat waves dominated discussion about power supply, it was the spring season that produced the most power outages in both Australia and New Zealand with more than one third occurring between September and November.

“Australia and New Zealand have diverse, unique climates where almost one in three power outages is caused by bad weather and trees, so businesses and individuals need to plan for the unexpected.

”Uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), generators and power management software solutions can help deliver reliable power during outages, reducing the risk of data loss and costs associated with downtime or IT damage.”

Some of the most unusual causes of power outages reported by Eaton:

  • Hayes Creek, NT: On 21 October, an olive python snake with a magpie goose in its mouth was found looped over a power line following a 30 minute blackout to the area.
  • Eurobodalla NSW: On 15 April, a flying fox plague caused a large number of safety equipment activations resulting in several blackouts over a period of weeks.
  • Canning Vale WA: On 16 November, the maximum-security Hakea Prison and surrounding areas lost power after an earthing wire was stolen.
  • Bathurst NSW: On 31 November, a flock of birds was blamed for leaving 1,573 customers in the dark after they hit a power line which sparked the outage.
  • Ashburton NZ: On 23 November, a cat was lucky to escape alive after a fault man tried to rescue it from a power pole. Instead of climbing down the ladder, the cat climbed higher. The power was cut to help it down safely.

Eaton is offering Australian businesses a complimentary consultation and Critical Power Site Audit to assess the business’ vulnerability to power disruption.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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