For many, the Australian summer is a time for family, beach, outdoor fun and keeping cool under our strong southern sun. For the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), summer is also when Australia’s energy system is under the most strain due to high consumer demand (like when we all turn on our air conditioners at 6PM) and extreme weather events like bushfires.

But did you know that all Australians can play an important role in safely easing the strain from the grid? To find out how you can play your part, and most importantly, keep yourself safe and cool, check out some of our tips below!

Energy fast facts

  • The power system is under the most strain during high demand days between 4PM to 7PM, most commonly during periods of extreme heat (38 degrees plus).
  • On an average summer day, the lowest demand period during daylight hours is between 11AM and 2PM. Using electrical appliances that can be programed during this period puts the least amount of strain on our energy systems during a heatwave, especially if you have solar panels installed on your roof.
  • Using appliances (like your dishwasher or washing machine) later in the evening, from 8PM onwards, can significantly assist our energy systems.
  • Do you have solar panels? Did you know that solar panels produce their most output at around 1PM? At 6PM, this output reduces to approximately 20% (depending if they face north or west).
  • For every one degree over 38, AEMO estimates an additional 125 MW of demand on the system in each state.
  • If 100,000 consumers temporarily switch off their pool pumps during 4PM to 7PM, which uses 1.5KW an hour, demand can be reduced by approximately 150 MW! That’s enough energy to cover a rise in temperature as outlined in the point above.
The health and wellbeing of yourself and others should be the highest priority over energy conservation. Look after those most at risk in the heat – your neighbour living alone, older people, young children, people with a medical condition and don’t forget your pets!

Safety must always be your top priority

  • Look after those most at risk in the heat – your neighbour living alone, older people, young children, people with a medical condition and don’t forget your pets. The health and wellbeing of yourself and others should be the highest priority over energy conservation.
  • Keep up to date with weather forecasts – watch the news daily, check the BOM forecasts online, and follow the authorities via social media. 
  • Australia’s energy industry works overtime to keep the lights on during summer, however, you should always prepare for an unexpected power failure - ensure you have a torch, battery-operated radio, fully charged mobile phone, food items that don’t require refrigeration, medications, plenty of drinking water and other essential items.
  • Look at the things you can do to make your home cooler such as installing window coverings, shade cloths or external blinds on the sides of the house facing the sun.
  • Go somewhere to stay cool. Swimming pools or air-conditioned centres such as a libraries, cinemas and galleries, or shopping centres are ideal and may have extended hours throughout summer.

All states plan extensively for worst case scenarios during summer, such as bushfires, extended heatwaves, and storms. We have prepared a list of relevant authorities and their websites should you have any questions. Stay safe!

Emergency management authorities in each state

Victoria

VicEmergency – www.emergency.vic.gov.au

New South Wales

Office of Emergency Management – www.emergency.nsw.gov.au

Queensland

Emergency services and safety – www.qld.gov.au/emergency

South Australia

Department of Premier and Cabinet - https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/emergencies-and-safety

Tasmania

Tasmania State Emergency Service - http://www.ses.tas.gov.au/h/em

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Emergency Services Agency - http://esa.act.gov.au/

Western Australia

EmergencyWA - https://www.emergency.wa.gov.au/

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Emergency Service - http://www.pfes.nt.gov.au/Emergency-Service.aspx