The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has made a draft rule that provides a process for the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to obtain information on demand side participation from electricity market participants, for the purposes of informing its electricity load forecasts.

The draft rule change is part of the Commission’s work to encourage greater demand side participation by consumers in Australia’s energy markets, based on the 2012 Power of Choice review. 

Better information on demand side participation, and so better informed load forecasts, could lead to more informed investment and operational decisions, which is in the long term interests of consumers.

Currently, AEMO conducts voluntary surveys of registered participants about their knowledge of demand side participation in the electricity market; however AEMO considers the quality of information obtained from the survey method is limited, potentially impacting the quality of AEMO's load forecasts.

The Commission’s draft rule seeks to address the potential information deficiency by requiring registered participants in the electricity market to provide information on demand side participation to AEMO, in accordance with guidelines developed by AEMO in consultation with registered participants.

Under the draft rule, AEMO would be required to take the information it receives into account when developing and using load forecasts, which could lead to improvements in the quality of AEMO’s load forecasts and help inform AEMO’s decisions and processes.

Further, the publication of potentially better quality load forecasts by AEMO could better inform electricity market stakeholders of possible future outcomes, and lead to potentially more efficient investment and operational decisions.

Stakeholders are invited to make written submissions in response to the AEMC’s draft rule determination, including the draft rule, by no later than Thursday 12 February 2015.

Other demand side participation measures flowing from the Commission’s Power of Choice review include the cost reflective distribution network pricing rule change finalised last month, as well as improving customer access to information about their energy consumption and encouraging greater competition in metering and related services.  These reforms work together to support consumers to manage their electricity use and expenditure.