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Cold snap results in record power demand

20 June 2006

Cold snap results in record power demand

New Zealand’s electricity use reached record levels last evening, requiring careful management of the available generation.

As System Operator, Transpower recorded a New Zealand peak demand of 6630 MW (megawatts) between 5.30 and 6pm.

This surpassed by almost 2% the previous half hour record of 6513 MW, recorded during a severe storm in August 2004.

The North Island peak demand was 4425 MW, beating the previous peak of 4385 MW.

Demand was particularly strong in the upper North Island. The instantaneous peak electricity demand observed in the Auckland/Northland region was 2093 MW at 5.50pm, almost 5% higher than the previous peak demand for the region of 1998 MW set last winter.

Overall demand in the South Island was slightly below record levels, but there was a new instantaneous peak demand in the upper South Island region (Christchurch north) of 1049 MW, 1% up on last year’s record of 1039 MW.

The record power demand across the country last evening required the System Operator to issue a notice calling on generators to offer all available generation, and lines companies to reduce demand where possible (most commonly, by temporarily cutting hot water heating).

With an improvement in the weather, peak electricity demand this evening is expected to be slightly lower.


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