Demand drop shocks power industry
Power demand has dropped across the national electricity market, prompting one Queensland distributor to slash 500 jobs and one of Victoria's biggest generators to close one of its units.
Both Ergon Energy and EnergyAustralia's Yallourn power station are facing demand down about 10 per cent from their average highs of several years ago, according to analysts and an Ergon spokesman.
[E]lectricity consumption and peak demand are well below levels forecast in our regulatory determination," Ergon's Chief Executive, Ian McLeod, said.
"Demand for customer network connections is also expected to remain suppressed throughout the remainder of the current period to 2015."
Yallourn's owners may have blamed the carbon price and the renewable energy targets for their decision to shut one of its four units, but analysts such as Professor Mike Sandiford at the Melbourne Energy Institute (MEI) said the main issue is that big utilities have not adjust to the market.
“The maximum reduction in demand in Victoria is about 600 megawatts," he said, with the switch from electric- to solar-heated water a key factor in the demand drop.
Victorian power prices averaged about $55 a megawatt hour in Victoria last month well down on the most recent peaks of $80 in early 2010, even with the $23 a tonne carbon price included, the MEI said.