This followed strong rains in May which had lifted storage levels from 40-year lows and enabled Hydro Tasmania to export across Basslink for much of the month of June to avoid spilling at some of its smaller lakes and take advantage of market opportunities.

Tasmania recorded one of its driest Junes on record that saw little rainfall in northern and central parts of the state and below average falls on the west coast an in the south west. Strathgordon received only 48% of its normal June rainfall.

Storages now stand at 19.3% – a drop of 2.6% from the previous month – compared to 30.6% at the same time last year.

Hydro Tasmania’s General Manager Communications and External Relations, Andrew Catchpole, said the past twelve months of drought conditions caused by below average rainfall had put significant pressure on the business with an additional $80M being spent on importing power across Basslink and extra gas for Bell Bay power station.

Catchpole said that Basslink had ensured power supplies in the state and avoided the need for power restrictions this winter.

However, while last month had seen disappointing rainfall, the rains in May, combined with high prices on the national electricity market had enabled the business to reverse the trend of the previous 11 months and export significant amounts of power into Victoria where prices reached almost $4000/MWh during periods of peak demand.

‘This capacity to avoid spillage and export additional power across Basslink over and above what is required to supply the Tasmanian market and make a healthy return at the same time was good news at the end of what has been a difficult year for Hydro Tasmania,’ said Catchpole. ‘The rain in May eased the pressure on our financial position but the poor falls in June show that this may be only temporary and we have already been forced to import additional power over the past few days. We need significant winter rains to boost our storages and put us in a stronger position for the normally drier summer months.’

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