Australia's energy regulator on Wednesday took control of the national power grid to prevent runaway price rises and guarantee supply, at a time of risk of outages in the country.
The sector operator announced that it had "suspended the market" for electricity in all regions because it "did not guarantee a safe and reliable supply."
The electricity that reaches Australian homes is bought and sold in the densely populated east of the country, a system designed to reduce costs and diversify supply.
But the market is in severe crisis and the regulator has found it necessary to fix prices and organize distribution.
Australia is one of the world's top three gas and coal producers, but a quarter of the thermal power stations on the east coast are currently shut down due to breakdowns or maintenance.
In addition, the war in Ukraine also caused the export of Australian gas to increase and all the surplus that could have been used to alleviate this shortage in the domestic market disappeared.
Finally, the problems were exacerbated by a cold snap on the country's east coast, which prompted electricity suppliers this week to ask citizens to restrict their power consumption.
Most east coast residents, particularly the 10 million people living in Sydney and Melbourne, were warned that there could be power cuts.
Last year, 71% of Australia's electricity came from fossil fuels, 51% from coal, according to official figures.