The AEMC has made a submission to the Australian Senate Select Committee’s inquiry into fair dinkum power. The Committee is investigating  how energy consumers could be empowered to play a more important role in the national electricity market (NEM) especially as technology evolves and improves. 

Consumer choices are driving change across the national electricity market as new information and technology becomes available. The system is in perpetual motion. We respond to all these drivers coming from consumers, industry and governments and advise on lowest cost ways to take advantage of new opportunities and address new challenges.

The AEMC has, for example, spearheaded consumer reforms with new rules that make it easier for customers to choose and switch retailers, access and respond to their consumption data, and receive and respond to price signals. We also make rules on consumer protections, recognising that not all consumers can or want to be active participants. The energy sector needs to provide a fair deal for all consumers.  

Our submission outlines what the AEMC is doing to: 

  • support consumers in choosing an energy supplier and deal that suits their needs
  • provide appropriate consumer protections
  • facilitate the right investment in energy infrastructure in the right place at the right time
  • provide a stable and secure system where all technical requirements are a maintained
  • underpin a grid that efficiently transports power from where it’s made to where it is needed
  • reform gas markets, giving customers the ability to buy, sell and transport gas to where it’s needed. 

It also highlights what governments can do to support consumer choice to drive change in the energy sector. Specifically, in our submission, we point out that governments should introduce a nationally agreed mechanism for the electricity sector to reduce emissions in the power system and at the same time, have financial incentives for investors to provide energy services at times when consumers and the power system need it. Policy stability and predictability are important prerequisites for the investment that will be required in the sector over the coming decades. 

New  investment in the energy sector will allow new technologies to be integrated and utilised, and the power system to continue to be managed securely. However new investment – especially investment to support the security and reliability of the power system in light of the changing generation mix – may also create additional cost pressures in the short to medium term. That’s why the AEMC is focussed above all on lowest cost solutions, bearing in mind the more costs you put into the system, the more burden there is on consumers.

Media: Prudence Anderson, Communication Director, 02 8296 7817; 0404 821 935