The Reliability Panel (Panel) forms part of the AEMC’s institutional arrangements that support the national electricity system. The Panel's core functions relate to the safety, security and reliability of the national electricity system.

Responsibilities

The National Electricity Law (NEL) sets out the key responsibilities of the Panel. These include:

  • to monitor, review and report on the safety, security and reliability of the national electricity system; and
  • at the request of the AEMC, to provide advice in relation to the safety, security and reliability of the national electricity system.

The Panel’s work program is largely driven by specific requirements set out in the National Electricity Rules (NER). Generally, the focus of the Panel’s work is on determining standards and guidelines which are part of the framework for maintaining a secure and reliable power system.

Guidelines and Standards

The Panel must follow the consultation process set out in the NER in determining standards and guidelines.

Most of the Panel’s guidelines are developed to assist the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to perform its power system security and reliability functions.

Standards developed by the Panel also specify information to market participants, such as generators and large customers. For example, they specify important requirements for connecting to, and operating under, the national electricity system, such as performance standards, and operating frequencies.

Market reviews and advice

Many reviews and advice provided by the Panel form part of its periodic and ongoing obligations under the NER to review market parameters regarding power system security and reliability.

The purpose of these reviews and advice is to ensure that the NEM continues to meet the needs of the market, market participants and consumers in an efficient manner and in line with the national electricity objective. In undertaking this work, the Panel must follow the consultation process set out in the NER.

In addition to its ongoing obligations, the Panel may also be directed by the AEMC, from time to time, to review or provide advice on a specific matter as it relates to the safety, security and reliability of the national electricity system.

The Panel is comprised of members who represent a range of participants in the national electricity market, including AEMO, generators, network businesses, consumers and large end users.

Panel members are selected on the basis of their direct interests in the reliability of electricity supply. Consideration is also given to balancing Panel membership representation according to geographical location and participating jurisdictions.

The AEMC appoints members to the Panel for a period of up to three years. Members are appointed in consultation with industry, end use consumers and consumer groups.

Members who are appointed to represent ‘Registered Participants’ must be agreed to by at least one third of the category of Registered Participant they represent (for example, generator, market customer, network service provider).

The National Electricity Rules require that the Panel is comprised of the following membership:

  • An AEMC Commissioner (appointed for three years);
  • The Chief  Executive Officer or delegate of the Australian Energy Market Operator;
  • Four members that represent Registered Participants including:
    • Generators;
    • Market Customers;
    • Transmission Network Service Providers (TNSP);
    • Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSP);
  • A person representing the interests of end use customers for electricity.

The AEMC has some discretion to appoint up to three members who may have expertise in areas that are not otherwise represented by other Panel members.

The current Panel members are:

Member Organisation Market Segment Term Expiry
Neville Henderson (Chairman) Chairman and AEMC Commissioner AEMC current term expires 18 October 2017
Trevor Armstrong  Chief Operating Officer, Ausgrid Distribution Network Service Providers current term expires 31 December 2019
Lance Balcombe Chief Executive Officer, TasNetworks Transmission Network Service Providers current term expires 17 December 2018
Murray Chapman Executive Officer Corporate Development, AEMO AEMO  
Mark Collette Executive Energy, EnergyAustralia Discretionary current term expires 31 December 2018
Royce De Sousa General Manager - Energy & Sustainability, Visy Discretionary current term expires 31 August 2018
Gavin Dufty Manager Policy and Research, St Vincent de Paul Society, Victoria End use customer of electricity current term expires 31 December 2019
Miles George Strategic Adviser, Infigen Energy Ltd Generators current term expires 17 December 2018
Chris Murphy Strategic Advisor, Meridian Energy and General Manager - Energy Market Interfaces, Telstra Discretionary current term expires 31 December 2017
Richard Wrightson General Manager Wholesale Markets,  AGL Energy Market Customers current term expires 31 December 2019

 

Below sets out a high level overview of the Panel’s Guidelines and Standards. More information on these can be found here.

Project Details
Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) Guidelines
The RERT is a mechanism in the National Electricity Rules that allows AEMO to contract for reserves up to nine months ahead of a period where AEMO projects there to be a projected reserve shortfall. A projected reserve shortfall is where the amount of generation capacity is projected to be below the level consistent with the reliability standard. 
 
The Panel is required to develop and publish guidelines which provide  guidance for AEMO in its operation of the RERT. The Guidelines can be found here.
 
System Restart Standard

The AEMC made a rule on 15 April 2015 that amended the requirements for the Panel in determining the Standard. The new rule clarifies the role of the Panel in developing the Standard and requires that when determining the level of restart services to be procured, the Panel must consider how best to minimise the impacts of a major blackout for consumers, taking the national electricity objective into account.

Following the rule change, the AEMC provided the Panel with Terms of Reference on 30 June 2015 to review the Standard, to reflect the changes made to the SRAS arrangements in the above rule change. The Final Report and Standard were published on 15 December 2016. The new Standard will apply from July 2018 when the current SRAS contracts end.

For further information, see the project page on our website.

Performance standards The Panel is required to publish a report on the implementation of automatic access standards and minimum access standards as performance standards.

In April 2009, the Panel completed a Technical Standards Review which included reviewing:

  • the automatic access standards and minimum access standards;
  • individual technical standards; and
  • the interaction between the system, access and plant-specific standards as a whole.

For further information, see the project page on this Review on our website.

Plant standards

A Registered Participant, AEMO or interested party may request the Panel to determine whether an existing Australian or international standard may be adopted as a plant standard for a particular class of plant.  To date, no party has requested the Panel to determine this.

Principles and Guidelines for Maintaining Power System Security

The Panel is required to develop and publish principles and guidelines that determine how AEMO should maintain determine the power system security. These principles must take into account the costs and benefits to the extent practicable

“In 2008 and 2009 the Panel completed review of the Tasmanian frequency operating standards and and the mainland frequency operating standards in the NEM during periods of supply scarcity.The frequency operating standards define the range of allowable frequencies for the power system that can occur during a major power system incident. 

On 30 March 2017, the Panel commenced a review of the existing frequency operating standards for Tasmania and the mainland.”

Guidelines for Intervention by AEMO for the Provision of Reserves  The Panel is required to determine guidelines governing AEMO’s exercise of power to issue directions in connection with maintaining or re-establishing the power system in a reliable operating state.

If there is a major supply shortfall in the NEM, AEMO must implement any necessary involuntary load shedding in an equitable manner, and in accordance with guidelines established by the Panel as part of the power system security and reliability standards.

System Operating Incident Guidelines The Panel is required to determine guidelines identifying or providing for the identification of operating incidents that are of significance.

AEMO uses the guidelines as a basis for determining whether to review a power system incident.

The latest of these guidelines were set in April 2013.

Review of System Standards

The Panel is required to monitor, review and publish a report on the system standards in terms of whether it appropriately and adequately describes the expected technical performance conditions of the power system. 

Reliability Standard and Settings Guidelines
As part of the 2014 review of the reliability standard and settings, the Panel recommended that the AEMC and/or the Panel develop a methodology for future reviews of the reliability standard and settings (review), and that this methodology consider how the outcomes of any market modelling should be treated.
 
In response to this recommendation, in December 2016, the Panel published the first reliability standard and settings guidelines (the guidelines).  The guidelines themselves do not determine the values of the reliability standard (the standard) and the reliability settings (the settings). These will be determined by the Panel in each review. Rather, the guidelines set out the principles and assumptions that the Panel is to apply in undertaking each review. 
 
The guidelines can be found here.
 

 

Below sets out a high level overview of the Panel’s periodic reviews. More information on these can be found here.

Project Details Frequency
Annual Market Performance Review (AMPR) The AMPR examines the performance of the National Electricity Market in terms of reliability, security and safety of the power system.

The Panel has been conducting this annual review since 2006. The review considers the performance of the NEM’s bulk wholesale electricity systems. Performance at the local transmission and distribution level provided by jurisdictional bodies, distributors and transmission network service providers are also provided in the report.

The latest version of the AMPR can be found on the AEMC’s website. 
Once a year; end of financial year.
Reliability Standard and Settings Review Every four years the Panel is required to review the reliability standard and the reliability settings. This periodic review enables the Panel to consider whether the standards and settings remain suitable for current market arrangements and to ensure they continue to meet the requirements of the market, market participants and consumers.  The last review was completed in 2014.

The AEMC recently completed a rule change in March 2015 that amended the arrangements for the reliability standard. Under the rule, changes to the reliability standard must be subject to the rule change process. This reflects arrangements in place for the reliability settings.

The new rule also required the Panel to develop Reliability Standard and Settings Guidelines outlining the principles and assumptions it will use in conducting the reliability standard and settings review. In December 2016, the Panel published the first reliability standard and settings guidelines. The guidelines can be found here

On 30 March 2017 the Panel commenced the 2018 reliability standard  and settings review.

Once every four years.
Template for Generator Compliance Review

The template for generator compliance programs seeks to define “good  electricity industry practice” in the management of generator plant performance and adherence to standards. The template provides certainty for generators as to what is required of their compliance programs.

Generators must develop and maintain compliance programs in line with the template.

The template was recently reviewed in 2015 .

Once every five years.
Publication of AEMO’s electricity demand forecast report

The National Electricity Rules require AEMO to prepare and provide a report to the Reliability Panel by 1 November each year on the accuracy of AEMO’s demand forecasts, as published in AEMO’s most recent Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO), and any improvements made by AEMO or other related parties to the forecasting process that will apply to the next ESOO.

The Reliability Panel is subsequently required to publish the report provided by AEMO within ten business days of receiving it.

Since 2012, AEMO has published its demand forecasts in its National Electricity Forecasting Report (NEFR). As a result, it is the NEFR which is the subject of AEMO’s report on the accuracy of its demand forecasts.

The Reliability Panel recognises that demand forecasts play an essential role in the market where they may be used by stakeholders when making key operational and investment decisions. It is important that robust and reliable forecasting is available to facilitate these business requirements. Demand forecasts are also important to end-use consumers to provide transparency and improve awareness of energy use and other market issues.

The Reliability Panel will continue to review the forecasting reports provided by AEMO and undertake its broader review under the annual market performance review process.

Report on demand forecasts for the SOO 2008

Report on demand forecasts for the ESOO 2009

Report on demand forecasts for the ESOO 2010

Report on demand forecasts for the ESOO 2011

Report on demand forecasts for the NEFR 2012

Report on demand forecasts for the NEFR 2013

Report on demand forecasts for the NEFR 2014

Report on demand forecasts for the NEFR 2015

Report on demand forecasts for the NEFR 2016

Once a year.