Fact sheet: Explaining load shedding

2 min

This includes assessing and managing risk to the electricity network, such as extreme weather events, natural disasters, infrastructure maintenance or faults.

After all emergency responses available to AEMO have been exhausted, including issuing lack of reserve notifications encouraging more generation and procuring “out of market” reserves, load shedding may be required as an absolute last resort.

But what is load shedding and how does it work?

Load shedding is the deliberate shutdown of power to parts of the electricity network to reduce a predetermined volume of electricity usage to maintain system stability and the supply-demand balance.

In accordance with the National Electricity Rules, a Ministerial-appointed Jurisdictional System Security Coordinator (JSSC) is responsible for preparing a load shedding schedule for each jurisdiction to determine the sequence of load shedding and restoration. 

These schedules are provided to AEMO who decides when load shedding is needed in the National Electricity Market (NEM), which includes Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

While AEMO does not decide which areas will be affected, AEMO instructs electricity transmission companies to implement load shedding in its region, often on a two-hour rotating basis, confirming how much power needs to be load shed in accordance with the schedules determined by the JSSC.

AEMO views load shedding as an absolute last resort to securely manage the wider power system, conscious of the inconvenience to consumers.

AEMO and the electricity industry work together to minimise the impact on the community, particularly major health facilities, emergency services and public transport. However, these services can still be affected and should have business continuity arrangements in place.

For information on AEMO’s plans and risk mitigation strategies for the summer period, please read AEMO’s Summer 2019/20 Readiness Plan and download our summer operations infographic.

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