SOLAR power units on private homes are keeping peak electricity demand down in rural Queensland, a utility says.
Ergon Energy, which supplies regional areas of the state outside Brisbane and the south east corner, says the most noticeable impact is on the mid-afternoon peak loads.
Temperatures on Tuesday soared to 40 degrees across much of Queensland, with new records for December were set in the southeast, and while they dropped slightly on Wednesday, temperatures were still above the monthly average.
With solar power units in regional areas capable of generating around 173 megawatts (MW), Ergon says as much as 150mw is flowing back into the system from private homes.
Chief executive Ian McLeod says peak demand of 1957 MW during the heatwave was down by 14 per cent on the record peak of 2285 MW in January 2010.
"After a number of mild summers this heatwave has been the first real test of where peak demand is heading on those few hot days of the year," Mr McLeod said in a statement.
"The record growth of the last decade may be behind us.
"A reduced peak demand reduces the need for more investment in new substations or increasing the capacity of existing substations and powerlines and this takes the pressure off rising power prices."
Mr McLeod said while increasing power prices have contributed to lower peak loads, the reduction is also down to customers conserving energy and using more efficient appliances.