On Monday night, residents in Australia’s Queensland state faced the prospect of blackouts as the country’s power crisis showed no signs of abating.

According to a statement on its website, the Australian Energy Market Operator, which operates domestic electricity and gas markets, has issued so-called lack of reserve notifications for both Queensland and New South Wales, indicating that demand may outpace supply.

Because of supply restrictions, there may be blackouts in Queensland, while the AEMO recommended commercial and industrial power consumers in NSW to minimize their consumption.

Coal-fired power plant outages, combined with a cold spell, have produced supply issues and driven energy prices soaring in Australia in recent weeks.

As a result of growing worldwide competition for the fuel, demand for backup gas plants has surged. While there is no scarcity of locally generated fuel, most of it is unavailable since Australia is one of the world’s leading exporters of liquefied natural gas.

Source: Bloomberg

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