Thursday, 29 March 2018 08:22

Basslink power interconnector down after contractor error

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The Basslink Interconnector, the undersea data and telecommunications cable that connects Tasmania to the Australian mainland, has been hit by an outage after routine maintenance was begun on 24 March.

Basslink, the operator of the cable, said only the electricity interconnector was affected.

"Regrettably, during the routine maintenance at a transition station in Victoria, a third-party contractor damaged a piece of equipment," the company said in a statement.

"Given the damaged equipment is unique, it will require appropriate expertise and equipment from overseas for repair before the interconnector can recommence operations.

"Basslink has begun the process to return the Basslink Interconnector to service. Based on current information, its anticipated return to service date is 14 April 2018.

"At this point in time, the fault only impacts the electricity interconnector. The Basslink telecoms cable providing broadband services to Internet service providers continues to operate."

Basslink is in the midst of a dispute with the Tasmanian Government over an earlier outage in December 2015 which lasted for six months. The government is seeking damages of $122 million; Basslink denies that it was responsible for the outage.

The statement said: "This incident is unrelated to the outage in December 2015 and the ongoing dispute with the state of Tasmania."

Contacted for comment, Hydro Tasmania, the Tasmanian Government body that is the predominant electricity generator in the state, said: "Tasmania's energy supply is extremely secure, and not meaningfully affected by the current short-term Basslink outage.

"Hydro Tasmania storages were at 36.9% on Monday. That’s an extremely secure level for early autumn, as we approach the wettest months of the year. It's also well above the High Reliability Level set by the Energy Security Taskforce.

"Especially given the time of year, we expect to manage quite comfortably without being able to import energy until mid-April."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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