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Industry News

Australian Power Prices Spike as Output Falls

LCG, Feb. 21, 2001Electricity prices in the Australian states of Victoria and South Australia shot up abruptly during a summer heat wave as output from the 2000 megawatt Loy Yang A power plant was cut by half.

Loy Yang's operators said the reduction in output to a low of around 1,055 megawatts was caused by failure of the market operator to dispatch its available capacity.

Wholesale power prices had been about $20.00 (U.S.) per megawatt-hour when the effects of the heat wave caused them to rise. At the same time, the transmission interconnector between Victoria and neighboring state New South Wales was close to capacity, shutting out generators in New South Wales.

This brought about a flurry of rebidding, or moving significant amounts of power toward higher prices, a Loy Yang spokesman attempted to explain. Prices then soared to almost $2,400 (U.S.) per megawatt-hour.

The activity caused the market operator to overlook Loy Yang, the spokesman said, and the power was cut back. "If the market dispatcher doesn't dispatch us, then (the power) doesn't go," he said.

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