The AEMC today called for submissions on a draft rule that would enable more competition in building new transmission network infrastructure needed for connection, while maintaining clear accountability for the safety and reliability of the transmission network.

The National Electricity Market is evolving as Australia transitions to a low carbon economy. An estimated 30 to 50 new large scale generators, including wind and solar, as well as major energy users, will connect to the transmission network by 2020. Increasing competition in building new transmission lines and substations that are needed to support these future connections could save over $100 million in the next three years, ultimately minimising the long term costs of electricity for consumers.

The draft rule would provide more choice, control and certainty for connecting parties, while at the same time requiring transmission businesses to continue to be accountable for the safety and reliability of the transmission network – even if some parts of it are built and owned by other businesses.

The draft rule also proposes improvements to the transmission planning framework by requiring transmission businesses to take a consistent and more transparent approach to planning. It would also encourage better coordination between transmission businesses.

This rule change request, submitted by the COAG Energy Council, is largely based on the connection and planning recommendations made by the AEMC in its Transmission Frameworks Review. The objective of the recommendations made by the AEMC was to improve transparency, contestability and clarity in the connections frameworks while maintaining clear accountability, as well as to enhance the transmission planning and decision making arrangements.

The proposed changes to connection arrangements would not apply to Victoria, where the regulatory regime for transmission connections is overseen by the Australian Energy Market Operator and is outside the scope of the rule change request. However, the proposed changes to planning arrangements would apply in Victoria.

Media: Prudence Anderson 0404 821 935 or DL (02) 8296 7817