Tasmania could face power struggles after Basslink cable is damaged by contractor

Australia’s island state of Tasmania has been unplugged from the mainland thanks to damage caused to the 298km long Basslink electricity and communications cable. 

While the broadband cable is still functional, Tasmania will have to rely on its own sources of energy for power until “appropriate expertise and equipment from overseas" arrives.

“Regrettably, during the routine maintenance at a transition station in Victoria, a third-party contractor damaged a piece of equipment,” Basslink, a Singapore-owned company, announced via a statement issued on Wednesday.

Planning ahead

“Based on current information, its anticipated return to service date is 14 April, 2018,” the statement continued. 

This outage, however, is unlikely to affect Tasmania’s power supply as Hydro Tasmania, the leading power generator in the state, has confirmed that hydro-electric storage capacity in Tassie is currently at 36.9%, enough to keep the state powered up. 

As a fallback, Tasmania now also has a gas-powered power station in case of emergencies.

Going to court

This isn’t the first time Basslink has cut Tassie off from the mainland. The company is already facing a $100 million compensation case over a major outage in December 2015 that lasted six months.

Basslink, however, has said that this latest issue is “unrelated to the outage in December 2015 and the ongoing dispute with the state of Tasmania”.

[Image: Supplied]

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.