Managing peak demand

Electricity demand refers to the amount of electricity required by households, businesses and industry in the state. Demand management is managing when and how electricity is used to ensure a reliable supply.

On some days, South Australia's demand for electricity can be more than double the average demand on a typical day. This is described as peak demand and only occurs a few times each year on extremely hot summer days, primarily due to the increasing use of air conditioners in homes.

If demand is higher than supply it can lead to power outages, which are managed across the national electricity grid by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), in consultation with the Government of South Australia, ElectraNet and SA Power Networks.

AEMO's data dashboard provides rolling updates of South Australia's wholesale electricity price and demand. Use the tabs to compare electricity information across states and to access historical data. You can also find the last 10 years' worth of average seasonal peak demand data by region on the Australian Energy Regulator website.

Providing additional infrastructure to supply large quantities of electricity for very short periods to meet peak demand increases generation and network costs. While this ensures demand is met, it also results in increased electricity supply charges for South Australian customers.

SA's energy future

The South Australian government is implementing a series of plans to give the state greater local control of energy security, to increase self-reliance and provide reliable, competitive and clean power into the future.

Other strategies under investigation to reduce demand and infrastructure costs, both nationally and within the state, include:

  • pricing changes – offering electricity customers incentives to reduce their electricity use during peak times
  • giving customers a better understanding of their electricity use – by using technology that gives electricity customers the ability to track their electricity use, customers can have greater control over their appliance use during peak times.
  • direct load control – providing customers with incentives for helping relieve local peak pressures by turning off appliances or reducing their use during peak times
  • encouraging electricity customers to self-generate, eg using solar PV panels or wind turbines, and potentially store energy to use during peak times to relieve local demand pressures.

Minimum energy efficiency requirements

In an effort to reduce demand and infrastructure costs, there are minimum requirements for air conditioners that can be sold in South Australia, to reduce the amount of energy they use.

South Australia also participates in the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program. Through E3, the Australian Government, states and territories and the New Zealand Government collaborate to deliver a single program on energy efficiency standards and energy labelling for equipment and appliances.

Additionally, all new homes and extensions built in South Australia must meet certain energy efficiency requirements to help minimise heating, cooling and other appliance running costs.

Related information

Understanding the National Electricity Market – Australian Energy Market Operator

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Page last updated 24 January 2019

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