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Emergency Management

DIER is responsible for managing electricity, natural gas and petroleum product supply emergencies.

Managing Electricity Supply Emergencies in Tasmania

Tasmanians enjoy a level of access to energy (electricity, natural gas and petroleum products) which by international standards is extremely reliable. However, even the most reliable supply systems have to cope with emergency situations from time to time.

There are plans that set out how each of the three industries (electricity, natural gas and petroleum products) will manage a sustained and severe shortfall in supply. These plans provide details on how the industry should manage most situations would lead to the need for State intervention. The State has powers to ration access to energy through the Electricity Supply Industry Act, the Gas Act and the Petroleum Products Emergency Management Act.

To assist in the development of the plans and to provide advice to the Minister about emergency preparedness and management a number of committees have been formed.

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 Acronym Meaning
CCRESE Committee to Coordinate the Response to Energy Supply Emergencies
ECAP Act Energy Coordination and Planning Act 1995
ESECC Electricity Supply Emergency Coordination Committee
LSWG Load Shedding Working Group
NGSECC Gas Supply Emergency Coordination Committee
PPSECC Petroleum Products Supply Emergency Coordination Committee
WSAC Water Shortage Advisory Committee

One of CCRESE's key roles is to advise the Minister for Energy on electricity emergency management arrangements.  The carious sub-committees review and maintain the fuel specific Emergency Management Plans, which set out the roles of key parties and the procedures to be followed in an emergency situation.

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The Plans

There are 4 plans

  • The Energy Supply Emergency Plan [constitutes a Special Emergency Management Plan under Section 35 of the Emergency Management Act 2006.]
  • The Tasmanian Electricity Supply Emergency Management Plan
  • The Tasmanian Gas Supply Emergency Coordination Plan
  • The Tasmanian Petroleum Products Supply Emergency Management Plan (under review)

These plans all take into account Tasmania's commitment made through memoranda of understanding with the mainland jurisdictions to align our procedures with national plans. These national plans are;

All plans are updated regularly and exercises (simulated emergencies) are also conducted on a regular basis.

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Key Responsibilities during an Electricity Emergency

In Tasmania there are two key players

  • the 'Responsible Officer' (currently the Chief Executive Officer of Transend) who has operational responsibility for managing power system emergencies as provided for under the Power System Emergency Management Plan; and
  • the 'Jurisdictional System Security Coordinator (JSSC)' (Deputy Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources and Director, Energy Planning), who is responsible for advising the Minister for Energy on the need for jurisdictional interventions, such as voluntary or mandatory power restrictions
AEMO is responsible for power system security in Tasmania and co-ordinates responses to power system emergencies. AEMO exercises this responsibility under a common, agreed framework in all NEM States (Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland) known as the Power System Emergency Management Plan (PSEMP). In an emergency situation AEMO co-ordinates its activities with the State by direct contact with the Responsible Officer, Jurisdictional System Security Coordinator and local energy entities.

The Responsible Officer will provide advice to the JSSC on the nature of the incident and likely ramifications.  The JSSC will then provide advice to the Minister as to the most appropriate action to be undertaken.

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Key Responsibilities during a Natural Gas Emergency

In Tasmania an advisable incident is identified as an incident, which has caused, or is likely to cause, an unscheduled interruption of gas supply to a substantial consumer, or substantial group of consumers

An incident that results in out of specification gas entering the gas transmission or distribution system is also an advisable incident until such time that the Director of Gas Safety has reviewed the situation and declared such gas acceptable for consumption.

It is required that each industry or government entity will have internal procedures for their own internal notification requirements, and for ensuring that that advisable incidents are brought to the attention of the entity contact officer in a timely manner.

Each industry or government entity has a nominated contact officer and appropriate deputies.  The contact officer is a senior employee of the entity and has the authority to act on the entities behalf.  It is acknowledged that the contact officer may have to consult internally on some issues but there should be direct access for such consultation process.

In the event of an advisable incident occurring, the contact officer who first becomes aware of the incident will ensure that other contact officers are advised.  Advice may be by any form of communication but the contact officer issuing the advice must be able to confirm that the advice has been received.  The advice shall provide:

  • Details of the incident including nature and location of the incident
  • Impact on gas delivery infrastructure including need for pressure reduction, continuity of supply issues
  • Advice as to whether a meeting of contact officers is required to enable coordination, and
  • Preferred contact arrangements for ongoing updates on the incident

The DIER contact officer will be responsible for ensuring the Minister and members of his staff are appropriately advised in the event of an advisable incident.

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Key Responsibilities during a Petroleum Products Emergency

Should there be a shortage of petroleum products (petrol, diesel, LPG, etc) a four-phase management plan will be effected, with supply arrangements to the general public and essential users, as summarised in the following table:

PHASE GENERAL PUBLIC ESSENTIAL USERS
Phase 1 (Alert) no restrictions no restrictions
Phase 2 (Restrictions) restrictions no restrictions
Phase 3 (Further Restrictions) further restrictions no restrictions
Phase 4 (Rationing) no supply rationing

Essential users are defined as police and corrective services, fire and rescue, ambulance services, emergency services, taxis and public transport.

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How are Major Supply Shortfalls Managed?

This section deals with the techniques used to minimise the effect of a disruption.

In an emergency situation, the first priority of is to restore normal supply as quickly as possible and to protect public health and safety.

Most minor or local incidents are managed by the relevant businesses without any intervention from Government, although they must comply with any Government policy direction provided to them in advance.

Only in extreme circumstances, when there are insufficient supplies available to maintain normal energy supplies or where the overall safety or integrity of the supply system is threatened, will the jurisdiction consider intervening in normal market processes. In these circumstances, the Deputy Secretary will consult with the relevant industry participants before advising the Minister for Energy on the need to implement restrictions.

In the event of the need for restrictions it is State Government policy to give priority to the protection of public health and safety and the delivery of essential services.

Disruption and inconvenience to the community and industry users should be minimised to the extent possible, with any burdens shared as equitably as possible.

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