Pelican Point in court for alleged breaches of National Electricity Rules

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Pelican Point Power Limited (Pelican Point) for alleged breaches of the National Electricity Rules (NER).

The AER alleges that, for a number of months prior to 8 February 2017, Pelican Point failed to disclose to AEMO complete information about the physical plant capability at Pelican Point Power Station that could be made available on that day with 24 hours’ notice.

On 8 February 2017, South Australia was experiencing heat wave conditions which resulted in high customer demand and reduced generation capacity. In the late afternoon, the power system in the region was not in a secure operating state for over 30 minutes. AEMO declared an actual “Lack of Reserve Level 3” event and directed an interruption of customer supply in order to restore power system security.

“The AER alleges that Pelican Point did not disclose to AEMO that one of the generators at its Pelican Point Power Station was capable of being made available on 24 hours’ notice,” AER Chair Paula Conboy said.

“We allege that until late in the afternoon of 8 February 2017, AEMO was unaware it had the ability to issue a direction to Pelican Point to make the full capacity of Pelican Point power station available. As a result, AEMO’s ability to manage power system security was impaired.”

“Accurate generator capacity information is critical for AEMO to manage power system security including, if necessary, by issuing directions.”

“As we head into summer, it is important that generators provide AEMO with timely and accurate information about their capability to ensure that AEMO can manage system security and keep the lights on for Australian consumers and businesses,” Ms Conboy said.

The AER is seeking declarations, penalties and costs.

Notes for editors

The “projected assessment of system adequacy” (PASA) obligations in the National Electricity Rules require certain generators to submit to AEMO details of physical plant capability available in a particular period, including any physical plant capability that can be made available on 24 hours’ notice in that period.

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 do not set the prices consumers pay.

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.

Sector: 
Segment: 
Issued date: 
27 August 2019
AER reference: 
NR 17/19
Contact: 
AER Media 0466 409 921 media@aer.gov.au