Thousands of residents south of Ballarat were left to swelter in the dark on Friday afternoon despite the Buninyong battery kicking in for the first time.
The blackout was caused by a transmission failure in the Buninyong area, leaving more than 3600 customers in and around Buninyong with no air conditioning as the mercury climbed past 40 degrees.
In a statement a Powercor spokesperson said the company was happy with the battery’s performance, despite it assisting just 760 customers for 50 minutes before power again dropped out.
“We were able to turn on the battery and use it for the first time in a real event on Friday,” the statement read.
“Restoration work did take longer than usual as it was a Total Fire Ban day and our crews needed to patrol all lines before putting power supply back on to customers.
“We understand how frustrating it is to be without power in such severe heat and thank customers for their patience as crews worked to get electricity reconnected.”
Some customers stayed without power until as late as 11pm. The two megawatt, $8 million battery which was installed in March 2016 was promoted as being able to provide back-up power for up to 3000 customers for as long as an hour.
Committee for Ballarat chairman and Buninyong resident Janet Dore said “we thought we were protected (by the battery), but clearly at the moment we’re not”.
The blackout comes as the state government continues with commercial negotiations around the delivery of two 20 megawatt batteries in western Victoria, one of which is expected to be located in Warrenheip.
The $25 million project was initially due to be completed no later than January 2018, however the state government is still yet to announce a successful tender application, a step it expected to take in August last year.
While the batteries will now be unavailable for the whole 2017/18 summer, Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has so far refused to detail the cause of the delay.
“(The Australian Energy Market Operator) has advised that there is a sufficient amount of energy available within the grid, and are putting contingency measures in place to ensure that remains the case over summer,” Ms D’Ambrosio said in a statement in December.
*This story originally stated “the blackout was caused when the Loy Yang B brown coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley failed”. This was incorrect.