A HALT has been put on the Tamar Valley Power Station's proposed sale, after a Basslink subsea cable fault cut interstate supply and left Tasmania reliant on dwindling dam levels and wind.
The outed interconnector — 100-kilometres off the state's coastline in Bass Strait — experienced undiagnosed problems on Sunday afternoon, removing Tasmania from the National Electricity Market.
Energy Minister Matthew Groom and Hydro Tasmania chief executive Steve Davy both said the state was immediately not on the verge of electricity rations, which was backed by the Australian Energy Market Operator.
Four major Tasmanian industrial companies were without power for 30 minutes after the fault.
The electricity supply and demand in Tasmania and Victoria will be monitored by AEMO in the next 14 days and beyond.
Basslink Pty Ltd has a contractual obligation to fix the problem within 60 days and chief executive Malcolm Eccles said the private asset owner had begun the process "to assemble a team of experts who will provide diagnosis and repair to the fault, and return the interconnector to service as soon as possible".
The company has informed the market of a 60-day outage, however, it is unknown how long it will be out of action.
Mr Groom said the outage strengthened the government's desire for a second interconnector.
Mr Groom instructed the state-owned company to suspend the process to sell the gas-powered, combined-cycle unit at the Tamar Valley Power Station pending a review of the "unusual circumstances", which Mr Davy said would resume operation on January 20 after 18 months lying dormant.
Just months after sacking 12 workers at the station, Hydro Tasmania hired the same number again earlier this month to fire it back up.
Hydro Tasmania has been importing about 40 per cent at near capacity since October from Victoria at an estimated cost of $11 million a month, as state dam levels sit at 24.6 per cent.
"The interconnector has tripped on a number of occasions since it was first commissioned. These ranged from a few minutes to a number of days," Mr Davy said
"We are reviewing all our options but remain confident that the fault will not impact on energy security in Tasmania."
Goanna Energy principal consultant Marc White said the fault highlighted two issues: the amount of rainfall Tasmania received and how long repairs take.