The Basslink interconnector is down again and will remain out of service for the next two weeks.
Basslink Pty Ltd in a statement released late last night said the cable had been taken offline for planned maintenance works on March 24.
But during these works, a contractor damaged a piece of equipment at a Victorian transition station.
“Given the damaged equipment is unique, it will require appropriate expertise and equipment from overseas for repair before the interconnector can recommence operations,” the company said.
“At this point in time, the fault only impacts the electricity interconnector.
“The Basslink telecommunications cable providing broadband services to internet service providers continues to operate.”
The state dam levels are above 36.9 per cent.
Water storages were 12.5 per cent at the peak of the 2016 energy crisis.
A Hydro Tasmania spokesman said the current dams level was well above the high reliability level set by the state’s energy taskforce.
“With plenty of water in storage – and the wetter months coming – we also don’t expect to need to run gas as a consequence of the short-term Basslink outage,” he said.
Energy Minister Guy Barnett said the case for a second interconnector remained strong.
"We have had evidence this week that it is a priority for the Australian Government, through Infrastructure Australia," he said.
Labor’s energy spokesman David O’Byrne accused Mr Barnett of trying to hide the issue, saying he was only prompted to speak publicly once BPL had announced the problem.
He questioned whether major energy users had been briefed on the situation.
“If there’s been no consultation with our (major industrials) or investors then it just shows that the Liberals have learned nothing since their 2016 energy crisis,” Mr O’Byrne said.
Greens energy spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff said the incident indicated why Tasmania needed to move towards 100 per cent renewable energy sooner.
TasNetworks has submitted to the Australian Energy Regulator that the estimated capital expenditure for a second cable would be $1.1 billion, funded by the state-owned company and AEMO.
It believes that operational expenditure and maintenance would be $16.7 million annually.
The regulator in an issues paper released this month notes TasNetworks have five projects on the books, valued at more than $938 million.
“These cover projects that are not sufficiently certain to be included in the capex proposal but may occur in the 2019-24 period,” it said.
“The largest of these projects is for a second Bass Strait interconnector.”