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High-rises could be hit hard by blackouts

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APARTMENT prices could drop over the threat of more frequent blackouts, which can cause chaos among residents stuck in lifts and without airconditioning.

Power outages can create headaches for apartment dwellers who are left without access to lifts, or stuck inside them, when the lights go out.

It’s a problem that could start to impact property prices, according to Matt Mushalik, an adviser to the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas.

“There is no way skyscrapers will survive the coming electricity crisis,” Mr Mushalik told Domain.

“And that’s particularly when few of the existing towers ever invest in renewable energy to make up for shortfalls.”

Many high-rise apartments don’t have back-up generators and only cater for emergency and exit lighting using small batteries.

Installing a back-up would likely be very expensive and possibly cost millions.

Australians, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, are bracing for the possibility of more blackouts as the country transitions to renewable energy sources for its electricity, and climate change drives more extreme weather events.

Greville Pabast, executive chairman of property valuers and advisers WBP Property Group said the threat of increased blackouts would affect all residential property, whether that be houses or apartments.

“The major difference with high-rise apartments is the threat to safety in the event a person becomes stuck in a lift during the event,” Mr Pabast told

“While data doesn’t currently demonstrate a causal link between power outages and fluctuations in apartment prices, that’s not to say it couldn’t be an issue in the future should blackout frequency increase dramatically.”

If blackouts increased, Mr Pabast said there would likely be an increase in the number of new developments featuring generators and other renewable technologies to address this, with the cost reflected in property prices and through owner’s corporation fees.

“In that case, it could become a case of the ‘have’s’ and ‘have not’s’, with positive price benefits for those buildings with renewable energy technology, and negative implications for those that don’t,” he said.

But Mr Pabast said he hadn’t seen much of link yet between renewables in the home and higher property prices.

“While society and households are becoming more environmentally conscious, the cost of purchasing and implementing technologies such as solar are still high relative to potential cost savings — a cost buyers also fail to recognise when getting out the proverbial chequebook,” he said.

With demand in the property market so high at the moment, Mr Pabast said he hadn’t noticed potential buyers expressing concern over energy security.

“At present, supply shortages for many property types in Melbourne and Sydney means issues such as this, which are currently in their infancy, don’t rank too highly among the typical purchaser.”

24 Comments on "High-rises could be hit hard by blackouts"

  1. Midnight Oil on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 6:20 am 

    These apartments/condos will be converted to mausoleums. Just put a plaque on the door, seal it up and hold your nose!
    New meaning for stranded assets

  2. Cloggie on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 6:58 am 

    Suppose you are 85 and sitting in a wheel chair, living on the 20th floor and the elevator stops functioning after a black out and you are out of food.

    The good news is that since 9/11 we know it is easy to blow them up and let them collapse into their own foot print.
    9/11: nice clean cut. These darned Arabs and their box-cutters.ROFL

  3. TheNationalist on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 9:13 am 

    Here in Australia ‘community solar’ is still an unborn thought process for the uneducated masses. This would have solved some of the problems surely.
    Detached older style houses like mine with room for fruit and veg growing and a private roof for solar seem a much better idea long term.
    You just can’t add the equivalent of a Canberra every year (highest population growth in OECD) and expect the ‘planners’ to address energy efficiency and sustainability. The extra work required would not be as profitable and pro economic ‘growth’ now would it?

  4. rockman on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 10:18 am 

    Cloggie – “Suppose you are 85…and you are out of food.” Don’t you understand why most old farts have lots of cats as pets? Instead of “Meals on Wheels” it will be “Meals on Paws”. LOL.

  5. Cloggie on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 10:41 am 

    Sometimes cats eat their dead master.

    In that case we’re back at “Meals on Wheels”.

  6. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 10:57 am 

    The American Dream Has Retired

    “This is usually a topic for debate among actuaries and accountants — everyone else’s eyes glaze over at the mere mention of this, one of the most treacherous and lethal campaigns to be directed at any class of Americans since the Indian Wars. We don’t take responsibility for the Indian Wars because they happened so long ago, and we shrug off the implications of the pension debacle — the sudden depriving of millions of elderly Americans of the money for food, shelter, medicine and clothing — because it somewhere off in the distant future.

    Except it’s not. It’s starting now:

    At the end of 2015, the pension funds of the companies listed in the S&P 500 were underfunded by a staggering 375 billion dollars, after having been fully funded as recently as 2007. Underfunded is a polite term for treachery: the companies have not deposited in the pension fund the money they have promised to pay their qualified retirees.
    State and local government pensions are in far worse shape: they are five and one-half trillion dollars short of the money they have promised — and are obligated by law — to pay their retirees.
    The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), a US government agency, insures the private pension funds covering 40 million Americans. So far, it is responsible for paying the benefits owed by 71 pension funds that have gone broke (it does not pay the full benefit, more like 70 per cent, and it does not use taxpayer funds — yet.). The PBGC says it will run out of cash within ten years.
    The Central States Pension Fund, for Teamsters union truck drivers in several states, one of the country’s largest funds covering a quarter of a million people, plans to cut benefits for more than a quarter million retirees — some by more than half — beginning July 1, and expects to be insolvent by 2025.
    This rapidly gathering storm is not going to limit its effects to retired people. No less an authority than Investor’s Business Daily suggests that the public pension shortfalls alone could bankrupt the Unites States government. They estimate the existing debt at over $17 thousand for every American. Failure to honor a private pension is a breach of trust; failure to pay a public pension is a breach of the law.

    As this crisis matures, with announcements coming every week now that another fund is reducing benefits or otherwise in trouble, so too will the related crises in social security and among the people — nearly half the households of working people — who have no personal savings or preparation for their retirement.

    When they came for the Muslims and the Mexicans, I did not speak up for obvious reasons. But now they’re coming for the old people.”

  7. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 10:59 am 

    | Thu Mar 9, 2017 | 10:00am EST
    Wind knocks out power to 1 million customers in Michigan

  8. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 11:09 am 

    Largest Winter Wildfire in Kansas History Probably Linked to Climate Change

    “Over the past few days, a 1.5 million acre (2,350 square mile) swath of the Central U.S. has burned. The wildfires, stoked by warm winds, prodigious undergrowth, and a nascent mid-western drought exploded across Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Six people have perished, numerous structures have been destroyed, and thousands of people have been forced to evacuate. According to initial reports, the losses in the form of cropland burned and livestock consumed by the flames are expected to be significant.”

  9. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 11:14 am 


    Hell ya!

  10. BobInget on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 11:26 am 

    Apneaman, Kindly post that link again, can’t get it to work.

    IMO the day DJT took office spelled beginnings
    of ends. Ive been depressed ever since.

  11. BobInget on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 11:34 am 

    Fuel cells tech is making giant leaps.

    In 1977 I predicted every major commercial and residential would be in Full Monty by 2000.

    Cogeneration, using NG as feed stock, aided by solar and wind I figured would independently power high rise residential and commercial buildings.
    Forty years later it must be time.

    There are already tall buildings incorporating solar and wind into a grid tie set-up.

  12. Bob on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 12:51 pm 

    The provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Anhui are bracing for severe power shortages this summer. Shanghai is also likely to find itself in the eye of the storm. All told, electricity demand in these regions is likely to exceed supply by an estimated 19 million kilowatts (kW) in the summer, according to estimates by regional power distributor East China Grid Company.

    So we will know what life will be like in the high-rise buildings in the future as China has gotten there first. The first hints of trouble will probably be mass deaths of the elderly this summer. Stay tuned. Google “China power blackouts” to keep up with events.

  13. GregT on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 3:04 pm 


    It would appear that the site is down, at the moment.

  14. makati1 on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 5:57 pm 

    High rise is high risk in the future. Water will be more important than elevators. Most can still go up and down on their own two feet but water will be the hard part. Thus, the entire city will be abandoned eventually, except near rivers.

    Electric goes out a few times a year here in Manila. Sometimes just because they are performing maintenance in an area or connecting a new power line. They post the days and times in the newspapers and on TV. Then, of course, there are also heavy storms.

    Occasionally, a major storm may take down a power line. In 9 years, that has happened less than a total of 10 times and only twice was the condo electric off for more than an hour or two. The elevators and water still worked because they are on separate emergency generators. There are also other emergency generators that provide the condos with 15A of electric to run the fridge, lights, etc. Only twice did they run out of diesel before the commercial electric was restored.

    My sister in PA loses her electric more often than I and for longer, unannounced periods. Sometimes for days in the winter. How many homes in the burbs will also be abandoned for the lack of electric to pump water to flush and drink? Or to power/control their heating system? Or to fight those 90+F days in the hotter parts of the world? More than high rises will be affected.

  15. penury on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 5:57 pm 

    I think it is safe to say, If you lie in a high rise apartment above the third floor and the e3lectricity goes out you are in trouble regardless of age. However most people over the age of about 60 have lived thru enough situations in their lives that a minimum of at least two weeks food is on hand (9 months for the kitties)and at least 30 days supply of prescriptions. Not too certain about the youngers. And going outside would not be recommended at any age after about three days.

  16. makati1 on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 6:20 pm 

    Penury, I agree. Age is not the determining factor in most cases. Preps and common sense is. There is the weak spot for the younger generation. I’m good for at least a month without leaving my condo. Maybe two if I am thrifty with my supplies. I guess you are prepared also. I hope to be on the farm by the end of the year, if all goes well. No electric needed there.

  17. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 11:21 pm 

    Thanks Greg. Looks good now Bob.

  18. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 11:40 pm 

    More AGW Consequences

    Kansas sets wildfire record ‘it never hoped to see’

  19. Apneaman on Thu, 9th Mar 2017 11:50 pm 

    Hellacious Great Lakes Windstorm Fells Trees, Knocks Out Power to More than 1 Million

    “Widespread high winds are not uncommon across the Great Lakes in late winter and early spring, as the typical midlatitude storm track edges north toward the region. In this case, the unusually mild winter appears to have stoked the destruction. Most of the affected areas just had their warmest or second-warmest February on record. DTE Energy noted that the ground was softer than usual for this time of year. In addition, the soil was saturated after recent rains in southeast Michigan, said DTE. Trees were thus easier to topple than they otherwise would have been, and these falling trees played a big role in bringing down power lines.”

  20. Apneaman on Fri, 10th Mar 2017 12:27 am 

    When the shit finally hits big time it’s going to give a whole new meaning to the phrase “Apartment Hunting”.

  21. Apneaman on Fri, 10th Mar 2017 12:38 am 

    So much for the elites bright idea of “lifeboat New Zealand”

    New Zealand – Roads Closed, Campers Evacuated After Floods in Auckland and Coromandel

    “A storm and heavy rain overnight from 07 to 08 March caused flooding and power cuts across Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand on 08 March 2017.

    Golden Valley in Coromandel recorded over 250 mm of rain in 24 hours. The Wairoa River near Clevedon rose by around 5 metres in just a few hours.”

    They have plenty of AgW jacked drought problems and earthquakes in that county to go along with the rain bombs. Ba ha stupid rich fucks.

  22. makati1 on Fri, 10th Mar 2017 4:02 am 

    Not to mention volcanic action in New Zealand.

  23. george on Fri, 10th Mar 2017 8:20 am 

    those aussies are a tough bunch .
    it’s the vegemite , mate.

  24. Matt Mushalik on Fri, 10th Mar 2017 4:34 pm 

    Australians have now been warned by the Energy Market Operator that there will be gas and power shortages

    Immigration must be reduced to stop demand increasing

    Sydney would peak at 4.9 million with zero net overseas migration

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