More cuts after a day of chaos : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Notice this has been going on since rollover. Is this y2k related or not? It does not mention y2k.


More cuts after a day of chaos


VICTORIA faces another day of blackouts and scorching heat with power cuts plunging the state into chaos.

Soaring temperatures, strike action and a spate of generator breakdowns left 386,000 homes and a million people without power as electricity was rationed yesterday. The wave of snap blackouts rolled across about 100 suburbs and country towns and more cuts are on the way with today's temperature expected to hit 39deg.

Victorians are being asked to turn off air conditioners, dishwashers, video recorders, swimming pool filters and reduce lighting and hot water usage.

The government is ready to use emergency laws to force home appliances to be shut down.

It has ordered union peace talks as repairs were last night under way on damaged power generators.

The desperate moves  which would hit electricity cheats with $10,000 fines  follow a day of drama when 400 sets of traffic lights went out of action, causing massive road snarls.

Dozens of Melbourne workers were locked in city lifts and hundreds were treated for heat exhaustion in hospitals.

Schools closed early and parents have been told they may keep their children home today.

Yallourn Energy, which produces one fifth of Victoria's power, has been out of action for three weeks and breakdowns at Hazelwood and Loy Yang B left supply well below demand yesterday.

Despite power unions and Yallourn Energy agreeing to face-to-face talks today and Hazelwood expected to have a damaged generator repaired overnight, the progress is unlikely to avert today's crisis.

The government has charged former Labor minister Neil Pope with negotiating a deal between the parties, who have been in dispute for 10 months over rostering and the use of private contractors.

Premier Steve Bracks arrived back from Europe to find Melbourne in turmoil last night.

He said he found the situation unacceptable and his government would do everything it could to restore full power.

"It's been going on a long time when we are having very hot temperatures and the unforeseen events of the generators going down makes it worse," he said.

He warned unions and industry that if mediation was unsuccessful strong action would be taken.

Earlier, acting Premier John Thwaites played down chances of a quick breakthrough.

"We have had to act creatively to try to bring the parties together ... but you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."

The rolling cuts, which led to clusters of 500 to 2000 houses blacked out for two hours at a time, came after Victoria experienced a 15 per cent electricity shortfall.

The only warning householders received was a 10-second blackout about five minutes before their supply was interrupted.

Most businesses were spared yesterday, but could face cuts if the shortage continues.

People on life-support systems have been warned to use battery back-up and make arrangements for hospital care if needed.

Electrical Trades Union state secretary Dean Mighell said the parties were miles apart and labelled the lockout a return to 1890s industrial tactics.

"The company is threatening to lock out the entire workforce  so if there's no power they have to wear it," he said.

Mr Mighell said talks must focus on the use of contractors before progress would be made.

"That underpins our concerns on job security for our members. If we don't get agreement on that we haven't got agreement on anything," he said.

Yallourn Energy chief Mike Johnston said the company would lock out workers from midnight, Monday, unless the impasse was broken.

He said the company was deeply concerned that after 10 months of talks with six unions it had failed to settle any claims.

"We are very pleased with the government's initiative to bring the parties together for mediation."

Power generation has been out at Yallourn's La Trobe plant for 23 days and Mr Johnston said the company was reviewing a $500 million expansion. "This is costing us a great deal of money," he said.

Even in the event of a surprise breakthrough, both parties said it would take five days to restore full power output at Yallourn.,2294,283552^1243,00.html

-- Martin Thompson (, February 03, 2000


Interesting. Columnist at the Westergaard Year 2000 site Dick Mills wrote: QUOTE I'm very worried about the summer and chronic problems. The difference is that shortages don't cause collapse and general blackouts, but rather curtailments, appeals to conserve, rolling blackouts or orders for indusutries to shut down. Just like the hot months in the summer of 98 and 99 when lots of areas experienced shortages. Similar problems could occur in the first weeks of January, but again, they're shortages not blackouts. For the average guy the biggest impact may be that he gets laid off from work for the duration. If you add that to the risk of layoffs because of the domino effects in the supply chain causing business to close, you get lots of unemployment. For lots of people that is more serious than freezing pipes. UNQUOTE source: See also Worse Than Blackouts, Y2K Power Shortages

-- Vicki Fox (, February 04, 2000.

Is this a sign of things to come in the Northern Hemisphere this summer. "They" always said all along that our electricity use is VERY low in the winter and high in summer due to a/c etc.

-- Sheri (, February 04, 2000.

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