Lights stay on for Y2K

Electricity supply over the critical new year's eve period cannot be guaranteed, although any interruptions to service will not be caused by Y2K issues, an industry spokesman said.

"We are not able to guarantee supply, because power systems suffer interruptions every day due to outside influences," said Michael Sinclair, executive manager of the Electricity Association of NSW (EANSW), the industry's representative body.

"We are not in a position to guarantee supply today let alone during critical dates," Sinclair said.

"However, we are confident that supply will not be interrupted due to Y2K," he said.

Current levels of electricity supply quality and reliability average 99.98 per cent.

Contingencies are in place to further ensure supply of electricity is maintained during critical dates, according to Sinclair.

"The electricity supply system in NSW and ACT is made up of a highly interconnected generation, transmission and distribution network," Sinclair said.

"This high level of interconnection enables the industry to quickly isolate problems if they occur and re-route supply in a way which causes minimal disruption to the user," he said.

Likewise, NEMMCO (National Electricity Market Management Company) will put into place three contingencies to minimise the risk of interrupted supply to the grid, which connects NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Double the normal amount of reserves will be available over the critical dates, representing 660 MW for each state.

Key flows between NSW and Victoria, and between Victoria and South Australia will be kept to a minimum or none at all. "If the grid needs to support one state or another, this can be done instantaneously," Sinclair said.

Ancillary services will also be increased.

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