Basslink was importing at time of trip

8 March 2016

Hydro Tasmania has confirmed today that Tasmania was importing energy at the time the Basslink cable tripped on 20 December 2015. Statements to the contrary are incorrect. The website of the Australian Energy Market Operator confirms this.

For most of the 14 hours prior to the trip, Tasmania was importing energy at or close to the full capacity of the Basslink cable.

At approximately 14.04 pm (market time) on Sunday 20 December, the Basslink cable tripped and it has not been in operation since that time.

As part of its normal energy trading operations, Hydro Tasmania’s practice had been to generate more than Tasmania’s demand when prices in Victoria were sufficiently high. The excess energy was exported via Basslink.

As well, energy was imported into Tasmania when required.

Tasmania had been importing up to 40 per cent of the state’s energy needs across Basslink prior to the trip.

A small amount of energy was exported in December because prices were high enough to justify this action. Victorian prices during the period in question reached a peak of $1626/MWh.

The risk position at this time considered the potential for a 60-day Basslink outage. There was no way of predicting that an outage would occur on 20 December, or that it would continue to the extent that it has.

To put that amount exported in context:

  • Tasmanian demand for December 2015 was approximately 837 GWh
  • Therefore one day’s demand during this period was approximately 27 GWh
  • Thus, the export of just over 9 GWh is equivalent to about a third of a day’s average Tasmanian demand
  • Hydro Tasmania imported 193 GWh for the month of December until the link broke.


It's important to note that Tasmania imported heavily to preserve hydro storages during October, November and December until the link unexpectedly went out of service.

Basslink Pty Ltd has issued a statement confirming that Tasmania was exporting at the time the cable tripped.




Released by Samantha Meyer (03) 6230 5746


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