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230 volt transition

The Queensland Government recently confirmed a change in voltage from 240 volts to 230 volts across the state.

Note: On this webpage when we use the term '240 volts' we mean 240 volts (+/-6%), and when we use the term '230 volts' we mean 230 volts (+10/-6%).

One of the main reasons for the switch to 230 volts is to help our network support more connections of micro embedded generating units (e.g. solar photovoltaic (PV) and batteries) in the future.

Other benefits of the switch include:

  • reduced inverter tripping on high voltage
  • improved equipment performance
  • small energy savings
  • alignment with national and international best practice standards.

Frequently asked questions

Will it affect solar PV systems?

The switch to 230 volts shouldn’t have negative effects on existing solar PV systems.  In fact, it may improve the performance of systems that currently have over-voltage issues.

Note:  We haven’t made any changes to solar PV owner’s connections or wiring.

Why did we do this?

Queensland is one of the last areas where low voltage power supply is still supplied at 240 volts.  Most of the world and other Australian states (except Western Australia) use the international standard1 of 230 volts introduced in 2000.

Also, the high number of solar PV connections in regional Queensland has increased our network voltages, so switching to 230 volts will help improve this.

We're not expecting any negative impacts from this voltage change as all equipment and appliances manufactured since 2000 and retailing in Australia are manufactured to the 230 volts standard.

What's the timeframe for these changes?

Queensland’s Electricity Regulation was amended on 27 October 2017 to mandate a transition to the 230 volt standard in Queensland.

By 26 October 2018 our network electricity supply voltage limits will transition from 240 volts to 230 volts as per AS 60038.

From 1 July 2020, we'll maintain network supply voltage within the preferred voltage range set out in AS61000.3.100 (Steady state voltage limits in public electricity systems). This sets an 8% ‘preferred operating zone’ (between 225 and 244 volts) within the allowable range (between 216 and 253 volts).

What's changing in the transition to 230 volts?

Small voltage reductions will be applied to the medium voltage at many sites across Queensland to achieve compliance on the low voltage network by 27 October 2018.

No changes are planned for existing connection agreements or inverter settings.

From 1 July 2020 we'll maintain network supply voltages with the preferred range of between 225 volts and 244 volts.

No changes are planned for customers supplied via high voltage - 11kV and 22kV connections must still be maintained within ± 5% of 11kV and 22kV.

What if I have a three phase connection?

If you have a three phase connection the voltage switch will be from 415 volts to 400 volts.

Will I have electricity voltage issues?

We don’t expect you’ll have any voltage issues.  Things to watch for include:

  • dim lights
  • slower cooking times
  • appliances running slow
  • a high number of blown light bulbs
  • your PV inverter switching off.

If you experience any of these please contact us on 13 22 96 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to raise a Quality of Supply Enquiry. We'll investigate the voltage issues at your premises.

Should I be concerned about running equipment continuously on 230 volts if all my equipment specifies 240 volts?

No. Any equipment made for 240 volts was designed to operate over a range of voltages, which include the new targeted median range of between 225 volts and 244 volts.

Will old pumping equipment that needs 240 volts to start still work with the new 230 volt standard?

Yes. A 240 volt motor in good condition will start if power supply voltage is within the new allowable range of between 216 volts and 253 volts.

Could this transition to 230 volts damage equipment or cause a fire risk?

No. Increased risk of fire won't occur as a result of a slight voltage reduction.

Some of my power points / appliances / air-conditioners / lights don't work.  Is this because of the transition to 230 volts?

No circuit of your premises should lose power at any time as a result of a slight voltage decrease.

We lost power last night at our premises, is this because of the transition to 230 volts?

No.  A power outage shouldn't occur because of the transition to 230 volts.

Of course, a power outage could occur at any time for other reasons, so if an outage occurs again, please contact our Faults Team on 13 22 96 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

My safety switch has stopped resetting, is this because of the transition to 230 volts?

No change to the operation of a safety switch should occur as a result of a slight voltage drop. We recommend you engage a licensed electrical contractor to investigate the cause of this issue.

The volts at my premises was measured at 244 volts, should it now be 230 volts?

A range of voltages is to be expected at a premises throughout the day, with the new allowable range between 216 volts and 253 volts.

My electricity supply is high voltage (11kV or higher), will this mean a change to my voltage?

No change is expected.

If you need more detailed advice, please email us for more information.

230 volt trial

Before this change was made, a trial was carried out in 2015/2016 in seven areas across the state. The trial included around 8,000 customers in regional Queensland to test the benefits and impacts for you and our network.

The trial results showed a variety of benefits with switching from 240 volts to 230 volts.

Where was the trial?

We chose seven network feeders to be part of the trial with different features in the following urban and rural areas:

  • Goldsmith Street feeder (Mackay)
  • Louisa Creek feeder (Mackay/ Sarina)
  • Hardy Road feeder (Cairns)
  • Serene Valley feeder (Townsville)
  • Mt Lofty feeder (Toowoomba)
  • Brigalow feeder (Chinchilla/Jandowae)
  • Boulia network (isolated community).

When was the trial?

The trial commenced late in 2015 and included data collection, analytics and monitoring.  Network modelling and analysis took place in 2016 to help us identify what changes were needed prior to initiating a change to the network voltage.

The results of the network modelling and analysis contributed to the Queensland Government’s Regulatory Impact Statement into Queensland’s statutory voltage limits which opened for public comment in April 2017.

The trial was deemed a success, and we commenced working with the Queensland Government, Energex, and our customers on a plan to switch to 230 volts across the state.

More questions?

If you have more questions about the switch to 230V, contact us on 13 74 66 (7am - 5:30pm Monday to Friday) and select Option 4 (Hot water supply issues), or email 230VTransition@ergon.com.au.

Footnotes

  1. Read more about International Standard IEC/AS61000.3.100
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