The supply of electricity begins with generation in generators, which mainly rely on coal, gas, wind or hydro technologies. An interconnected network of high voltage transmission lines transports electricity from the generators to load centres in metropolitan and regional areas. Low voltage distribution networks then transport electricity from points along the transmission lines to customers.
The gas supply chain is similar. Gas is extracted from wells in gas fields and is processed to remove impurities. High pressure gas transmission pipelines are used to transport the gas to demand zones. A network of distribution pipelines then delivers the gas from points along the transmission pipelines to customers.
Queensland, New South Wales, Vıctoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have interconnected electricity and gas networks. Electricity in this interconnected region is sold through a wholesale spot market—the National Electricity Market (NEM). Spot gas wholesale markets operate at major demand or supply hubs in Victoria, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Wallumbilla. A Gas Market Bulletin Board provides real time information on gas market conditions.
Energy retailers buy wholesale electricity and gas and package it with transmission and distribution services for sale to residential, commercial and industrial customers. All retail customers in the NEM are eligible to choose their electricity and gas supplier. A national regulatory retail regime provides consumer protections to small customers. The regime operates in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.
Western Australia and the Northern Territory have separate electricity and gas networks and market arrangements.
More details about the energy industry and participants can be found in the AER's State of the Energy Market report.