Wholesale markets quarterly - Q4 2019

Quarterly report
Release date: 
15 February 2020


The AER's monitoring, regulation and enforcement roles will help deliver affordable and reliable energy for Australian consumers. Our quarterly report bridges the gap between our short term and long term performance reports, allowing us to identify significant trends in the electricity and gas markets, and independently evaluate market developments as they emerge.

Key findings


  • Quarterly average prices were below $90 per MWh across all regions for the first time since Q4 2017.
  • Demand conditions varied considerably across the quarter, in some regions achieving both record minimum levels and near record maximums.
  • The market operated well under extreme conditions, particularly from mid-December.
  • Planned and unplanned coal generator outages were resolved by the end of the quarter.
  • Price expectations for Q1 2020 decreased throughout the quarter as outages were resolved.


  • Downstream wholesale spot prices were below $8 per GJ in Victoria and Sydney for the fourth quarter in a row.
  • Lower Asian spot netback prices and greater competition by more sellers is putting downward pressure on downstream wholesale spot prices.
  • Quarterly gas production in the Queensland Roma region reached record levels.
  • Queensland LNG exports reached record levels despite falling Asian LNG spot prices.
  • The Day Ahead Auction of pipeline capacity continued to be used to bring gas from North to South, however arbitrage opportunities were limited as the price gap between North and South closed.