Our role

The AER regulates wholesale and retail energy markets, and energy networks, under national energy legislation and rules. Our functions mostly relate to energy markets in eastern and southern Australia.

Wholesale energy market regulation

In the wholesale electricity and gas markets the AER monitors, investigates and enforces compliance with national energy legislation and rules.

We monitor participant bidding and rebidding, market dispatch and prices, network constraints and outages, demand forecasts and forecasts of production and capacity.

We also report on market activity, including:

  • weekly reports on wholesale market outcomes
  • reports on prices outside normal thresholds
  • quarterly reports on our compliance monitoring activities.

Our compliance and enforcement strategy is set out in our Compliance and Enforcement policy and priorities.

For more information, visit our Wholesale markets pages.

Energy networks regulation

The AER regulates electricity networks and natural gas pipelines by setting the maximum amount of revenue they can earn.

Network businesses submit proposals to the AER on their required revenues. We review the proposals and make decisions with reference to factors including:

  • projected demand for electricity and natural gas
  • age of infrastructure
  • operating and financial costs
  • network reliability and safety standards.

Decisions generally apply for five years, and network businesses adjust their prices annually during the five year period.

For more information about how the AER regulates energy networks, you can visit our Networks & pipelines pages.

Retail energy market regulation

The AER regulates retail electricity and gas markets in jurisdictions that have commenced the National Energy Retail Law. The Retail Law commenced in Tasmania (for electricity customers only) and the Australian Capital Territory on 1 July 2012, South Australia on 1 February 2013, New South Wales on 1 July 2013 and Queensland on 1 July 2015.

The AER does not set retail energy prices, but it provides a price comparison website, Energy Made Easy, to help customers find the best energy offers for their needs.

Our other roles include:

  • monitoring and enforcing compliance with obligations in the Retail Law, Rules and Regulations
  • reporting on performance of the market and energy businesses, including energy affordability and disconnection of customers for non-payment of energy bills
  • assessing authorisation applications from businesses that want to become energy retailers, and exempting businesses from authorisation requirements (for example, nursing homes and caravan parks that onsell energy to tenants)
  • approving policies energy retailers must implement to assist customers facing financial hardship and looking for help to manage their energy bills
  • administering a retailer of last resort scheme, which protects customers and the market if an energy retailer fails.

For more information about the AER's retail functions and roles, visit our Retail markets pages.