Investigation report into South Australia's 2016 state-wide blackout

Sector: 
Segment: 
Category: 
Compliance review
Release date: 
14 December 2018
Event date: 
28 September 2016

Overview

On the afternoon of 28 September 2016, South Australia (SA) experienced a state-wide blackout. It was triggered by severe weather that damaged transmission and distribution assets, which was followed by reduced wind farm output and a loss of synchronism that caused the loss of the Heywood Interconnector. The subsequent imbalance in supply and demand resulted in the remaining electricity generation in SA shutting down. Most supplies were restored in 8 hours, however the wholesale market in SA was suspended for 13 days.

This report is a review of compliance by various National Electricity Market (NEM) participants against the National Electricity Rules (the Rules) regarding the operation of the SA region of the NEM in the period surrounding the blackout. Specifically, the report looks at the pre-event period, system restoration and market suspension.

The AER’s report did not cover the Event aspect of the Black System Event, which was subject to a separate investigation. Some related issues are now before the Court.

The report also identified 13 recommendations and remedial actions to improve processes and the overall Rules framework in key areas. Each of the recommendations and remedial actions and their status are set out in detail in the Recommendations Outcomes Factsheet (published on 28 February 2020).