Energy businesses must be ready for summer says AER

A baking summer means that every business in the National Electricity Market must ensure their plant, equipment and processes are operating in full compliance with the rules warns the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

Issuing the Summer Readiness Compliance Bulletin 2019, AER Chair Clare Savage said that robust enforcement ensuring compliance with the law is vital in building consumer trust that companies are doing the right thing.

“This week is hot and we’re only just into what promises to be a long summer of severe weather. People understand things can go wrong under extreme conditions, but they won’t forgive outages caused by a lack of preparation or avoidable mistakes.

”The AER will take a dim view of any compliance breaches by energy businesses. It goes without saying they should maintain a strong focus on compliance at all times,” Ms. Savage said.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has already flagged that intervention in the energy system may be required during periods of extreme weather.

Measures available to AEMO include intervening via the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) mechanism or issuing directions to generators, or more disruptive actions such as load shedding.

Ms. Savage said that a major priority for the AER this summer would be ensuring that businesses provide AEMO with accurate and timely information in accordance with their obligations under the Electricity Rules.

“Operating the electricity system is a balancing act at the best times, but under Australian summer heatwave conditions, there’s very little margin for error.

“The market operator needs to know what is happening in the system to do its job. And businesses must obey its instructions. Businesses that don’t meet their obligations in this regard can expect the AER to come asking hard questions and take robust action where appropriate.” Ms. Savage said.

The bulletin sets out the AER’s best practice examples to help businesses remain complaint and encourages them to adopt these approaches.

Market participants should review their practices in light of this information and update them as appropriate. The AER has also created a corresponding checklist to assist participants with their compliance.

About the AER

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) works to make all Australian energy consumers better off, now and in the future. 

  • We regulate electricity networks and covered gas pipelines, in all jurisdictions except Western Australia. We set the amount of revenue that network businesses can recover from customers for using these networks.
  • We enforce the laws for the National Electricity Market and spot gas markets in southern and eastern Australia. We monitor and report on the conduct of energy businesses and the effectiveness of competition.
  • We protect the interests of household and small business consumers by enforcing the Retail Law. Our retail energy market functions cover New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and Queensland.
  • We drive effective competition where it is feasible and provide effective regulation where it is not. We equip consumers to participate effectively, including through our Energy Made Easy website, and protect those who are unable to safeguard their own interests. We use our expertise to inform debate about Australia’s energy future.
Issued date: 
20 December 2019
AER reference: 
NR 34/19
AER Media 0466 409 921