Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Hydro knows what caused Basslink to fail. Why can’t the Plebs know … ?

*Pic: So … what caused the Basslink failure … ? The damaged section of the cable …

The Basslink high voltage DC undersea interconnector cable between Tasmania and Victoria failed mid-afternoon on Sunday December 20th 2015 and was not returned to service until June 13th 2016, some six months later.

Basslink was intended to provide energy security, in case of drought; and provide renewable energy to Victoria, but it failed to do this during the outage and energy security is now in question.

This monopolar power cable with metallic return is used to import and export electricity to the mainland. It connects Loy Yang power station in Victoria with George Town substation in northern Tasmania.

The two cables and a third dark fibre communication cable are bundled together at intervals with polypropylene rope.

All cables were cut so the power cable fault could be isolated. Not only did we lose power we lost communication ability as well.

Tasmania was put in a precarious position during the interconnector outage because dam storages levels had shrunk to almost 12%.

Diesel gensets were brought in to augment Tasmania’s power generation. For example Catagunya’s 18MW generators alone used 80,000 litres of diesel per day.

It is over twelve months since Basslink broke and we still do not know what caused the power cable to fail or why it took so long to fix.

Tasmanians have a right to know.

Articles have appeared previously on Tasmanian Times* and it is still being talked about in the street.

To say a section of undamaged cable that was tested is in good condition does not hold up for saying the whole 290Km of existing submarine power cable is in good condition when we do not know the cause of the previous fault.

It is important to know the cause when a second much more expensive Bass Strait cable is being canvassed whilst Tasmanians live with the reality that further costly and disruptive electricity faults could be thrown on us at any tick of the clock.

Hydro Tasmania had an observer on-board the cable repair ship Ile de Re.

Hydro Tasmania acknowledges it has an abundance of information in relation to the fault.

A Right to Information request was lodged with Hydro Tasmania on the 2nd November 2016.

Hydro Tasmania’s Determination and Reasons for Determination of Request can be downloaded below …

As a result an Internal Review was asked for on the 10th January this year and Mr S Davy CEO has appointed Mr M Howarth Corporate Solicitor to conduct the review.

Download Hydro’s response to Clive’s RTI request …


*Clive Stott has spent a lifetime with various qualifications working on, amongst other things, AC, DC, HV and LV installation, protection, maintenance and fault finding. State top electrical apprentice; electrical practitioner and electrical contractor; paper industry; HV open-cut mining; HV transmission and supply; avionics; hospital engineering and biomedical engineering. Mr Stott maintains “cause unknown” is not an acceptable answer to our costly Basslink failure.

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times, specialist Kelvin Jones …

BASSLINK: Dracula in charge of the bloodbank (includes links to earlier Kelvin Jones’ articles)

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. mike seabrook

    January 26, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    if the south australians pay for the second cable to ensure their electricity reliability and security and the lights not going out and no whyalla wipe out it will be their cost and their problem

    it may may sense for the south australians to pay for constructing of the gordon-below-franklin hydro scheme in tassie and a cable from north west tassie across bass strait to king island which could be supplemented by wind generated electricity on king island where the wind is reliable and thence a second cable from king island to portland and thence the south australian grid.

    what says the tassie and south australian lab-greens.

    and besides better shut down bell bay aluminium which will never be able to pay cost realistic electricity generation and transformation costs and cable transmission transfer costs ( look at the bludging on victorians by portland aluminium for how much longer – a temporary 4 year fix?)

  2. Kelvin Jones

    January 23, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    #9 The Geelong Stars log should make interesting reading if it is a part which has connection to the events in question.

    To me there is no dought that Basslink suffered mechanical trama, most likely by Geelong Star.

    It is possible that the Geelong Star actually snagged the cable at the time without knowing immediately. The damage to me looks as if the cable rolled with the strike. The event being dispersed in the general violence of net weights ploughing the sea bed.

    If a copy of a relevant part of the log was published there is a good chance that this controvercial “who dun it” will be solved at least in the perception of the public.

    It will be interesting to see if such a revelation would prompt “officialdom and vested interests” to reveal all.

  3. Chris

    January 23, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Good to see $20 million has not been advanced to the renewable energy sector,(solar) which would have installed about nine thousand units if given a $2,000 per unit subsidy.
    Of course the resulting jobs created would be great, but the firing up of the Tamar Power plant to insure lake levels, at a cost was a magnificent decision by the relevant Minister, Who might be available to comment some month in the future!
    Just imagine the power generated from 10,00 or so solar units and how that would top up our water batteries…..fairies and elves at the bottom of our GREEN garden enhanced by the Co2 from the Tamar….Groomed nicely eh ?

  4. Chris

    January 23, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    The minister for Growth, Hydro, Timber, mobile phone use in cars and hundreds of various other functions has been contacted for comment.
    Lets play the Gunn’s Game, I know nuffin Barney, lets have a demotion enquiry!
    Will the Rock Cliff be supremo soon and Will Will willingly waft out of the woodwork when the wankers see his wasted efforts to waffle his way to wherever he thinks he is wanted?

  5. Pete Godfrey

    January 23, 2017 at 8:55 am

    #9 Get a copy mikey and put it up for us.
    It is way past time that secrecy and clandestine operations were challenged.
    Nice work Clive, love the bit from Telstra telling us how they have to warn ships off their cable areas.
    One would have thought that in this day and age with GPS units, that each ship would have one with the cable locations programmed into it.
    Or are ships still relying on sextants and the wet finger approach to navigation?

  6. mikey

    January 23, 2017 at 1:59 am

    I’ve got a mate who knows someone who worked on Geelong Star reckons they were in the area on the day and has a copy of part of the ships log.

  7. Kelvin Jones

    January 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Don’t forget there was further superficial damage to Basslink. Indicating that a second object made contact with Basslink. This would be consistent with the weight distribution on the lower mouth of these gigantic nets. The design if these weights looking similar to a door makes these weights capable of causing both types of damage.

  8. Kelvin Jones

    January 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Clive it is good to see someone is taking a different approach to this secrecy problem. The location of the Geelong Star at the time of the cable failure is still being suppressed. I would find it incredulous if it was actually unknown.

    Technically I concluded in my articles there was no other reason for the cable to fail except by mechanical trauma.

    Comment #3 Ken White concerning a mid water trawl net ploughing the bottom accidentally fits with the information I obtained from the fishing industry. It is quite common when nets have been modified as the Geelong Stars nets were to minimise by catch issues. Text testing of nets also accounts for the unusual course to the NSW fishing grounds.

  9. john hayward

    January 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    In the absence of both a functional Opposition and an independent press, there’s no compelling reason for Tas governments to answer awkward questions, which are never as compelling as $300,000+ donations from rogue industries.

    This is not to say that Tas is a trailblazer into the post-truth era, but rather that truth has seemingly never been an issue down here.

    John Hayward

  10. Clive Stott

    January 19, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    John #1: The correspondence on Hydro Tasmania letterhead was signed Michael Howarth, Corporate Solicitor.

  11. Ken White

    January 19, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Somewhat frustrated by the lack of expert knowledge, re the theory the Geelong Star cutting the Bass Link Cable, I contacted one of my mates now retired back in the USA. As a marine scientist he has worked for CSIRO out of Hobart.

    The question to my good friend went thus:
    “When the Geelong Star was here in Australia it coincided with the breaking of the Bass Link Cable .”

    “No one is talking about what happened to the cable; why and how. I think it is a big legal nightmare. That is the reason no one is talking.”?

    Further I asked, “Would a trawl net such as on the Geelong Star hook on to a cable in Bass Strait?

    My friend replied, “Aloha Ken: “Yes a trawler’s net could hook on a cable. Even it was a midwater net.”

    When we were doing a midwater trawl off the Galapagos Islands we hit the bottom with our trawl and dragged there for a few minutes bring up a lot of rare bottom fish.

    But of course the Geelong (Star) would never admit anything and there is no proof. They probably departed for better fishing elsewhere.

  12. Mike Bolan

    January 19, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Well done Clive. The usual reasons for such delays and responsibility avoidance and information ‘reluctance’ are:

    * concerns that real responsibility will be identified (e.g. if Seafish Tas damaged cable) and government approvals suspect
    * hopes to claim possible insurance (e.g. likely reason for breakage won’t be covered) may be lost
    * some contractual arrangement will be voided
    * facts will open ‘mates’ to litigation
    * established government figures will be criticised or open to legal action.

    When trying to reveal responsibility, a complete conceptual picture can reveal elements that officials are trying to avoid. Hence Hydro’s official reasons could reveal some/all of what it’s trying to avoid.

    Good luck with it

  13. John Hawkins

    January 19, 2017 at 10:37 am


    Is the Coorporate Solicitor Mr M. Howarth or M. Horwath. Can you please check for me.

    Does any reader have any knowledge regarding the principals of the firm Horwath and Horwath accountants in Hobart in 1997?

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