Weekend alert: Companies to cut down operations as extreme heat hits Australia

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australia summer
Swimmers cool off in a salt water ocean pool at Sydney's beachside suburb of Bronte, December 14, 2016 to take relief from an early summer heatwave as the temperature in Sydney reached 37.1 degrees Celcius on December 14, 2016, according to the Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. Reuters/Jason Reed

Extreme heat across south-east Australia is expected this weekend with temperatures that could soar above 42 degrees in Sydney and Melbourne. As a result, major manufacturing may need to shut down to prevent power blackouts.

National energy regulator Australian Energy Market Operator is reportedly in talks with companies in South Australia and Victoria in a bid to get ahead of possible blackouts. Up to 14 power-hungry companies are likely to shut down operations over the weekend as Australian states expect major blackouts due to heightened use of air conditioner.

Some companies like BlueScope Steel, Visy and Australian Paper were paid incentives to cut down on operations, News.com.au reports. The move would help avoid the kind of patchy blackouts that SA previously had to deal with.

Since the heightened use of air conditioner is a concern, Aussies opting to use the humble fan has an advantage. Based on an analysis from Finder.com.au, those who wish to cool down could save as much as $415 this summer by using a fan instead of an air-conditioning unit.

Australia’s leading comparison site has found that using a fan eight hours every night for the duration of summer will cost only $17. Opting for an air conditioner for the same amount of time, on the other hand, will cost $432.

Sky News weather meteorologist Tristan Meyers has warned that Australia’s southern and eastern states will experience their hottest days in two years. New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria will feel the heat this weekend.

It will be really hot in Victoria and Tasmania on Saturday, Meyers said, while Launceston, Melbourne and Geelong will have their hottest days in two years. Melbourne could face its hottest day since January 13, 2016, when the temperature was at 42.2 degrees. Geelong and Bendigo will likely hit 42 degrees and Avalon, Echuca and Warracknabeal are expected to reach 43 degrees.

Total fire bans

Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania already have total fire banks in place as authorities seek to prevent bushfires. Western Australia could possibly experience severe to extreme fire danger across much of the state while fire danger is expected in Mount Lofty in South Australia.

Total fire bans are perceived as extremely important; any fire that may start would be difficult to suppress. Bureau of Meteorology’s James Taylor said that Aussies need to be vigilant, citing hot conditions expected across much of south-east Australia.

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