Australia: Perth wilts as mercury soars

In Australasia, News Headlines, Rising Temperatures

There’s been a record drain on electricity as people in Perth tried to escape the heat today.

The temperature in the city hit 42.7C about 12:40pm (AWST).

Western Power says air conditioners and big-screen TVs are to blame for the spike in electricity consumption.

Twenty transformers blew as a result of record power consumption.

As the transformers gave way, thousands of homes were blacked out, some for as long as 24 hours.

The northern suburb of Duncraig was hard hit by the power outages.

Many there lost power for 24 hours.

Resident Jessica Neville was relieved when the power was turned back on.

“Frustrating for sure, but you get used to it and then when the power came back on it was like heaven, turn it on,” she said

Miriam Borthwick from Western Power says the power peak is usually reached in February.

“To reach this peak here in January does show that we’ve got a real increase in the number of appliances and homes connected to the network,” she said.

Today’s electricity consumption was just short of 4,000 megawatts, 10 per cent highter than last year’s record.

Late in the day 3,700 homes and businesses stretching from Duncraig in the north to Cottesloe in the west and Secret Harbour in the south were without power.

However, Western Power says only a small proportion of its one million customers were affected.

The utility has warned it can’t promise electricity supplies won’t be disrupted again, the next time Perth is hit by extreme heat.

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