Hundreds of thousands of people were left without electricity across Queensland on Tuesday after a fire and explosion at a regional power station.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services were called to the Callide Power Station near Biloela, in central Queensland, shortly before 2pm.
CS Energy Queensland, which owns the power station, said a fire had started in a turbine hall about 1.45pm, taking three generating units offline.
A QFES spokesperson said everyone had been evacuated and no one was being treated for injuries.
Shadow minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen also tweeted that everyone at the power station had been accounted for.
“Our thoughts are with the workers at Callide Power station and the people of Biloela. Good news that all people at power station are accounted for,” Mr Bowen wrote.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said up to 400,000 customers initially lost power. By about 4pm, up to 300,000 had been restored.
“The sudden loss of 2000 megawatts of generated electricity has caused outages across the state,” she said.
“Families returning home tonight could find traffic signals down.
“If your power is off, every effort is being made to restore it.”
The Australian Energy Market Operator earlier reported the loss of multiple nearby transmission lines, with demand in Queensland falling by about 2000 megawatts.
A spokesman for power companies Energex and Ergon said at least 375,000 customers were without power in south-east Queensland alone, extending from the Gold Coast to Caboolture near the southern end of the Sunshine Coast.
He said he understood further customers in regional Queensland were affected, with reports of outages from as far north as Townsville and Ingham.
“I don’t know how far it stretches,” he said.
“I know I’ve had calls from Maryborough, Oakey out to behind Toowoomba as well as south-east Queensland. We’re working on it.”
There were numerous reports on social media tracing the mass blackouts to the turbine fire.
“Please stay away, a lot of emergency vehicles heading towards that direction. There has been multiple explosions on site No.4, a generator has caught fire, is starting to affect some power in places,” one witness posted on Facebook.
Ergon, the distribution network service provider for all of Queensland except for Brisbane and the Gold Coast, reported on its Facebook page that tens of thousands of its customers had lost power on Tuesday afternoon.
There were also widespread outages affecting southern Queensland with the provider Energex.
By 3.15pm, the Energex website confirmed power had been restored to 250,000 customers, while tens of thousands remained without electricity.
Shopping centres at Helensvale and Runaway Bay were among the major businesses affected.
Chaos is expected on the roads as rush hour approaches, with traffic lights still out of operation at numerous locations.
Traffic authorities in metropolitan Brisbane tweeted a warning to drivers: “Traffic signals are not operating at numerous intersections throughout Brisbane and SE Queensland, Energex are working to restore power”.