CANBERRA, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has on Thursday slammed the South Australian state government for not doing enough to "keep the lights on" after a fourth blackout in five months left 40,000 homes without power during a 40 degree Celsius heatwave on Wednesday evening.
South Australians are expected to experience more blackouts on Thursday following a decision on Wednesday to deliberately cut power to 40,000 homes by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which said it was forced to do so due to "a lack of available generation supply in SA".
On Thursday, the prime minister told the press South Australia's over-reliance on wind energy was "putting homes and businesses at risk", and that the state's Premier, Jay Weatherill, needs to do more to ensure his citizens have power in such a dangerous heatwave.
The nation's Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, told Sky News that South Australia was in the "danger zone", and Weatherill was delivering "third-world" conditions to the people of South Australia, including to those in the major city of Adelaide.
"Wind power, which can provide more than 40 and sometimes 50 percent and even up to 80 percent of South Australia's power at any one time, was providing 2.5 percent of South Australia's power (during the heatwave)," said Frydenberg.
The Energy Minister said the state government should look to re-open a coal-fired power plant which was closed in May, 2016 - just before blackouts started becoming an issue in the state.
Following the comments from both the PM and the Energy Minister, Weatherill on Thursday called on the federal government to assist the state in coming up with a solution instead of taking pot shots from the sidelines.
This week's blackouts are the fourth major occurrence since September last year; the first major blackout occurred in September when 1.7 million homes were left without power, while similar events also happened in December and January.
According to Defence Industry Minister and South Australian MP, Christopher Pyne, the blackout problem could have wider consequences on the state's capacity and reliability to undertake the nation's shipbuilding requirements.