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Western Power is preparing for high peak electricity demand in the Perth metro area and South West following forecasted heatwave conditions for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and subsequent days leading up to the New Year.

During the last two years we have experienced three days of high demand exceeding 4000MW, February 4, 2020, and January 8 and December 12, 2021. These can be attributed to very warm temperatures over consecutive days.

Western Power Executive Manager for Asset Operations said the business had put proactive plans in place to manage the expected increase in demand across Western Power’s network due to the heatwave.

“Even though the network is designed to cope with high demand, consecutive days of extreme high weather can put stress on grid infrastructure. Additionally, high fire weather conditions means we could be restricted in locating faults and restoring power to reduce bushfire risk,” he said.

“Community safety is always our number one priority. Even in the metro area we need to be mindful of bushfire risk when re-energising our network after a fault as our infrastructure traverses a lot of urban bushland and parks.

“In preparation for the forecasted heatwave we’ve postponed planned work, increased the number of fault and repair crews on call and ensuring our emergency response equipment such as backup generators are ready to go if needed” Mr Barbaro said.

Electricity transmission towers and powerlines in a field

In the event of a heatwave, we encourage people to set their air-conditioner temperature at 24 degrees to avoid overworking their air-conditioner and contributing to the high demand.

To prepare for an outage please:

  • Have a mobile phone fully charged on hand. Remember that cordless phones do not operate without mains power.
  • Consider purchasing and charging a portable charger for your mobile phone.
  • Get a fridge thermometer so you know if food is still safe to consume after a power outage.
  • Consult with your service provider if you have a monitored security alarm without a backup battery. You could also investigate the use of a generator.
  • Know how to manually operate automatic garage doors, or leave your car parked outside.
  • Be aware that lifts and escalators may not operate during a power outage.
  • Leave a light on inside your house so you know when power is restored.
  • If you require consistent power for water supplies or medical reasons, consider having access to a generator.
  • Ensure you have sufficient water supplies available, including for pets and livestock.

For more information, see our FAQs on how prepare for an outage, before, during and after it occurs.

Visit the Healthy WA website for more tips on reducing the risk of food-related illness during power outages.

Mr Barbaro said Western Power is committed to ensuring the network meets the growing and changing energy demands of the community now and in the future.

“To ensure we continue to prove a quality service to our customers we have management plans in place for peak and low demand days, both of which are now occurring more often than in the past due to the rapid uptake of renewables, particularly rooftop solar and a warming changing climate.”

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