Energy bills soar on record stinker

POWER use soared and water consumption skyrocketed during Friday’s record stinker, official figures have revealed.

In what was the hottest day in recorded history for a host of local centres, air-conditioners and taps were cranked up in near-record numbers.

Tamworth hit a blistering 44.4 degrees – almost two degrees above its previous high mark – while further west Walgett was officially the hottest place in the state at 49.1 degrees.

The heat was locked in even after the sun went down in Tamworth, with the mercury still topping 

39 degrees at 10pm on Friday and hovering at 42.7 degrees – still above the previous record – at 6.30pm that evening.

An Essential Energy spokeswoman said Friday’s scorcher resulted in increased energy use across the district.

The heatwave also sent water consumption figures soaring to be almost on a par with the temperature levels.

The prolonged Friday swelter saw water use hit 42.8 megalitres, one of the highest figures recorded in the past couple of years, and the most water consumed since the 45.9 megalitres reported in January 2013.

That water level high coincided with the previous hottest day on record, January 12, 2013, when the temperature hit 42.5 degrees. 

That record was shattered last Friday with the new top of 44.4 degrees but local weather watchers reckon the prolonged intensity of the heat – where Tamworth had temperatures well above the old century mark for over 12 hours – was another exceptional high weather mark for Tamworth. 

While final figures have not yet been analysed, Tamworth Regional Council water officers suspect the high water use was more about the extended use of evaporative air- conditioning than about anyone wanting to go outside and water the lawn.

Irrigators across the region have also been churning through their water allocations, according to Colin Barnes from irrigation company BNB Engineering.

“A few irrigators have said to me lately this is their biggest year for water use and I haven’t heard that in my 32 years in the industry,” Mr Barnes said.

“It’s just so dry out there and there’s been no real rain to speak of.

“A lot of the guys out west didn’t even bother planting wheat this season; it’s too dry.

“Unless it rains soon, a lot of the dam irrigators will be running out of water.”

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