Citizens across South Australia are reaching for the candles as a powerful storm front has rendered the state with no power. It’s a cruel blow for the “crow eaters“, who only started enjoying the benefits of electricity in 2003*.

Local media have reported SA police noting that most intersections in Adelaide, the state capital, were without traffic lights and were urging motorists to drive carefully ahead of peak hour, writes Peter Wells.

As the Adelaide Advertiser put it:

SA Power Networks said it was investigating the issue. It offered helpful advice to customers in the state through its official Twitter account, such as:

As well as:

As it happens, the price of electricity in South Australia is very high. On a single winter’s night in July this year at a moment of peak demand, the wholesale price of electricity jumped to A$9,000 per megawatt hour from the year-long average of A$60 MWh, which understandably drew much attention.

Local media had recently reported some of the state’s biggest employers were closer to temporarily shutting due to the surging cost of electricity making doing business too expensive.

One of the probable key reasons behind the overall high cost of energy in the state is its push to draw 50 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025, up from about 40 per cent at present. It had already exceeded a target to draw a third of its energy from renewables by 2020. Wind power is a key part of the energy mix, but lacks the reliability and stability of a grid that leans more heavily toward fossil fuels.

South Australia’s population is 1.7m, with 1.3m living in the capital, making it both the fifth-larges state and city in the country.

*Australian humour. South Australia Electric Light and Motive Power company was authorised in 1897 to supply power throughout the colony of South Australia.

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