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Tasmania's electricity crisis won't be over until June


Source: AFR, 10 March 2016

Tasmania's electricity crisis won't be over until atleast June.

The state's power supply has been disrupted by a drought and the failure of the Basslink undersea cable to Victoria's brown coal generators.

Singapore-owned Basslink, the operator of the electricity cable, said on Tuesday it had found the likely site of the damage in Bass Strait, about 98 kilometres from Tasmania.

Basslink chief executive Malcolm Eccles said the company's best estimate was that normal service wouldn't be resumed until late May, and that is subject to the weather.

The electricity crisis is set to cost the tiny Tasmanian economy more than $100 million. Hydro Tasmania's storages have fallen to 15 per cent of capacity and can't bridge the gap.

Hydro, the state electricity monopoly, is spending $44 million to hire and install diesel generators that will cost $22 million a month to run. Rio Tinto's Bell Bay Aluminium estimates it will lose $21 million of aluminium sales, part of which will be offset by reduced expenses. 

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