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Residents of NSW are being urged to switch off electrical appliances between 6-8pm

The federal energy minister has made the remarkable request to address the deepening energy crisis

Maxim Boon
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Maxim Boon
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The more than 8 million people who call NSW home – including the population of Australia’s biggest city, Sydney – have been urged by federal energy minister Chris Bowen to give up electricity for two hours every day if they “have a choice”. While he added that he was confident there would not be blackouts, Bowen said that non-essential electrical devices should be turned off where possible between 6-8pm at the press conference from Canberra on the evening of June 16.

Australia has been facing an energy crisis since last month because of the nation’s reliance on coal-fired power plants, which have proven vulnerable to supply chain disruptions caused by the widespread flooding during the summer. Technical issues at two of Australia’s most productive coal mines have further added to the pressure on coal supply, and international sanctions on trade with Russia in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine have deepened the energy crisis and caused energy prices to soar.

These issues on electricity supply have coincided with a cold snap in Australia, with millions of people plugging in power-hungry heaters to keep chilly conditions at bay. All of these factors have led to energy prices spiking above the $300 per megawatt-hour price cap set by the energy sector regulatory body, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). This in turn has led to the AEMO making the unprecedented decision to freeze the wholesale market, with several generators responding by reducing output to cut costs, further adding to pressure on the national grid. AEMO has not yet said when it expects to lift the freeze, which could impact other states in the coming days.

Keep your finger on the pulse of the city by bookmarking the Time Out Sydney news hub.

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