The Reliability Panel is seeking stakeholder feedback on a request by AEMO to declare the risk to South Australia’s power system from destructive winds as a ‘protected event.’ Under the National Electricity Rules, the Panel can declare a protected event if it finds there are net economic benefits from AEMO taking certain pre-emptive actions to manage a particular risk. 

In June 2018 AEMO released its first Power System Frequency Risk Review. This review identified a heightened risk of faults on transmission lines in South Australia during very high winds - above 140 km per hour - which could lead to the loss of the Heywood interconnector between South Australia and Victoria, and possibly a widespread blackout. 

AEMO is currently managing this risk by constraining the amount of power being imported into South Australia on the interconnector when destructive winds are forecast. However, AEMO believes there are more transparent and cost-effective ways to manage this risk, including by upgrading equipment and improving emergency schemes. 

The Panel will assess AEMO’s request to determine if there are net economic benefits from AEMO taking additional pre-emptive action. If so, the Panel will declare a protected event. The Panel will also consider if AEMO’s preferred approach is the most cost-effective.  

The consultation paper considers the key issues raised by AEMO’s request including: 

  • the potential options for managing the protected event
  • AEMO’s analysis of its recommended option for managing the protected event
  • AEMO’s assessment of the costs and benefits of managing the event as a protected event. 

The Panel’s determination of the request will be informed by the analysis provided by AEMO to date, stakeholder feedback on the consultation paper, and external technical advice.
Submissions on the consultation paper are due by 8 February 2019. The Panel is aiming to publish a draft determination in early 2019.

Media: Bronwyn Rosser, Communications Specialist, 02 8296 7847; 0423 280 341; 


In March 2017 the AEMC released a new management framework for emergency frequency control schemes. These are ‘last line of defence’ mechanisms to help prevent system-wide blackouts.

As part of this framework, AEMO is required to regularly and transparently assess risks to power system operation caused by events that are unlikely but would have high impacts if they were to happen. 

If AEMO believes that there are more transparent and cost-effective ways of managing any of the risks it identifies in its Power System Frequency Risk Review, it can request that the Reliability Panel declare a risk as a ‘protected event.’ 

The Reliability Panel will then consider the net economic benefits of managing the event as a protected event. If the Panel declares a protected event, AEMO can take additional steps to proactively manage the risk.