More than 100,000 Victorians without power amid heatwave

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More than 100,000 homes are now without power across Victoria, as temperatures soar to 40C or above.

CitiPower has confirmed 85,000 customers are off supply, while 32,000 United Energy customers are in the dark, according to figures obtained by 9News.

An additional 20,000 AusNet users are off the grid.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has confirmed it has asked electricity distributors to "load shed" through the afternoon.

(Supplied)
"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.

"Other generators are also struggling, simply because of the heat. So, it's all that in combination is what we're confronted with this afternoon."

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Energy Safe Victoria has warned households without electricity to not connect generators.

"Such practice is both illegal and dangerous."

Electrical work can only be carried out by licensed electricians," an official statement reads.

The CBD is currently sitting on 41.5C, while in Avalon, in the city’s west, the temperature has soared to 44C.

Melbourne and Geelong roads are also being affected by outages, with about 100 sets of traffic lights out.

Reprieve from the heat is on the way, with a cool change currently sweeping Geelong and dropping temperatures from 44C to 31C in a matter of minutes.

The change is expected to arrive in the city about 2.30pm, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Energy Minister earlier admitted that power infrastructure is struggling in the extreme heatwave conditions.

(9news)
Three power generators have been affected in the state.

“This is a consequence of these assets which are aging and coming under extreme duress during these critically longer and hotter more extreme summer events,” said Lily D'Ambrosio.

(AAP)
“Demands for energy today is at an almost a record high today at 9600 megawatts,” she said.

A smelting operation was ordered to half its operations via the power system's emergency management processes last night as the state struggles to keep up with demand.

Alcoa Australia - Victoria's largest electricity user - cut its power usage from about 7.10pm last night to 8.50pm to alleviate stress on an already stained power grid.

Today’s top temperature marks the hottest maximum temperature since it reached 46.4C on Black Saturday in 2009.

It was already 33C by 6am, with the mercury gradually growing hour by hour, making it the hottest overnight on record for Melbourne.

Tradesmen across the city knocked off at 8am this morning as the temperature hit 35C and became unworkable .

Yesterday’s temperatures - also in the 40s – left more than 8000 homes across the state without power.

Ms D'Ambrosio has urged households to ration their non-essential electricity use.

She suggested turning off dishwashers, kitchen appliances, washing machines and pool pumps.

(AAP)
The Bureau of Meteorology's state manager for Victoria, Andrew Tupper, warned the humidity would make it feel even hotter, and urged people to heed the advice of health and emergency services.

"It's not like a regular day," Dr Tupper said.

"This summer is not just a normal summer."

(Today)
A state-wide fire ban is also in place today in Victoria.

South Australia is also bracing for a cool change that’ll bring some much-needed relief.

The hot weather yesterday in the state topped records, with Adelaide CBD recorded as Australia’s hottest capital city when it reached 46.6C at 3.30pm.

The mercury rose even higher across the state, with Port Augusta the hottest at 49.5C - the fourth hottest temperature ever recorded in South Australia.

The town was one of more than 20 locations to experience record-breaking highs, others including Ceduna at 48.6C, Port Pirie and Whaylla at 48.5C.

In the peak of the heat, 29,000 people across the state were without power.

Temporary diesel power generators owned by the South Australian Government have been switched on for the first time.

"Clearly as generators age, we are running them very hard and with the hot weather we're running them more", Australian Energy Market Operator cheif executive Audrey Zibelman.

(AAP)
Relief will come in the form of a cool change today, when a maximum of 31C is forecast for Adelaide.

The weather will be cooler over the Australia Day weekend, with a high of 29C expected on Saturday and 28C on Sunday, before rising to 31C in Adelaide on Monday.

READ MORE: The Adelaide great-grandmother who has lived through both of the city's hottest days.

New South Wales is next in line for the intense heat, with western Sydney predicting 42C tomorrow for Australia Day celebrations.

While Sydney's CBD (33C) and Bondi (29C) will be more mild.

Tropical Cyclone

Queensland is dealing with a slightly different weather event, a tropical low forming over the state’s far north is expected to intensify into a cyclone and head south.

The strengthening weather system is sitting over Cape York Peninsula and is forecast develop throughout today, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

The system was about 125km west of Weipa in the Gulf of Carpentaria and extends north across the peninsula.

The low has a greater than 50 percent chance of becoming a cyclone by Saturday, with far northern communities warned to expect heavy rain that could cause flash flooding during Friday.

Wind gusts of 90km/h are possible.

Communities from just north of Cairns to Pormpuraaw and further north, on the Gulf of Carpentaria, are under a severe weather warning, along with the Torres Strait.

A flood watch is current for major catchments in the region, with six-hour rainfall totals in excess of 150mm possible.

Tasmanian bushfires

Tasmanians are being told to keep out of the bush with residents in south and central parts of the state being told to leave their homes.

There are 53 fires listed in Tasmania as of this morning, with 29 active.

Some 66,000 hectares of land has been burned, with 500 fire personnel battling them, including 145 from interstate and New Zealand.

(AAP)
"The best thing people can do in these conditions is leave early," the Tasmania Fire Service warned.

"A fire under the expected conditions can move very quickly with the potential for embers starting fires up to 20km ahead.

"Even those whose homes are well prepared to defend against fire will find their property is not defendable in these conditions."

Adding to the challenge for fire crews today, forecast winds mean water-bombing aircraft will be grounded.

Ground crews will be stepped up to try and cover the loss of aircraft but efforts will be prioritised in terms of human safety and property defence.

Fire activity at Lynch Hill rapidly increased and the blaze is burning through button grass - a native plant species - prompting emergency warnings and text alerts for Zeehan and Renison Bell areas, authorities said.

An evacuation centre is open at Queenstown Basketball Stadium.

Communities in the highland lakes area are also reminded to stay on high alert, with emergency warnings in place for Shannon, Waddamana, Penstock Lagoon and Hilltop and there is an evacuation centre open at the Bothwell Town Hall

A state-wide fire ban is in place until Monday.

Temperatures around the country

Clouds will clear today in Sydney, reaching a top of 33C in the city and 42C in the west. A sunny weekend in the 30s expected.



A hot windy 44C in Melbourne. A cool change in the afternoon will make way for a partly cloudy weekend in the high 20s.

Partly cloudy in Brisbane and 32C today. Partly cloudy 32C days ahead across the weekend.

27C and mostly clear in Perth. Sunny and similar temperatures expected over Saturday and Sunday.

A clear day reaching 31C in Adelaide, the SES has issued an Extreme Heat Warning. Partly cloudy and 31 over the weekend.

A hot and windy 37C in Hobart, dropping down to the mid 20s over the weekend.

Hot and mostly sunny in Canberra, 39C. Thunderstorms expected on a sticky Saturday with 40C the predicted top.

Possible storms in Darwin 32C. Similar conditions expected right across the weekend.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019

https://www.9news.com.au/national/2019/01/25/05/50/victoria-sizzles-as-it-waits-for-an-afternoon-reprieve-as-heat-scorches-most-of-the-country
 

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