Alcoa says power restored to Australian plant after heat waves

MELBOURNE, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Power to Alcoa Corp’s Portland aluminium smelter has returned to normal levels after a blackout on Friday caused by heat waves in Australia’s south, the company said in a statement on Monday.

One of two transmission lines to the smelter remains out of service due to the outage, however, Alcoa added. It blamed an external disruption for the interruption, but did not say if production had been affected.

“Focus has now turned to the repair of the damaged transmission line, which is essential to help safeguard the plant against further outages,” Michael Gollschewski, the president of Alcoa of Australia, said in the statement.

Friday’s power cut followed the tripping of a transmission line amid soaring temperatures, the Australian Energy Market Operator said.

Heatwaves in Australia during the southern hemisphere summer caused brought an earlier than usual start to the bushfire season, killing 33 people and razing more than 11.7 million hectares (28 million acres) of bushland.

The Portland aluminium smelter is a joint venture between Alcoa of Australia Limited, which has a stake of 55%; CITIC, which holds a stake of 22.5%; and Marubeni Aluminium Australia, with 22.5%. Alcoa manages daily operations. (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)