As part of ongoing ‘sequencing’ to ensure priorities are met, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has altered the timing of a small number of projects between now and mid-2022.

AEMC and Energy Security Board (ESB) Chair, Anna Collyer, said there was a ‘momentous array’ of projects and reviews now underway. She said the ESB’s Post-2025 reforms, recently confirmed by National Cabinet, put the AEMC’s work program at full capacity well into 2022.

“We are now at the upper limit of work that can be completed by our outstanding expert teams and very conscious that our stakeholders, too, are committing considerable resources to examine and respond to so many significant and time-critical projects across the sector,” Ms Collyer said.

“Fortunately, the nature of our work – where anyone can propose a rule change and we respond in the best interests of consumers and the market – means we are well-versed in ways to meet multiple pressing deadlines and relieve pressure on stakeholders.

“Early in 2020, as Covid-19 affected productivity in many workplaces, we collaborated with other market bodies to prioritise projects and ensure we could support the ESB and keep delivering work of the greatest impact at that time.

“We’ve continued to review each new rule change request and review proposal this way, adjusting teams and timeframes to make sure we still achieve essential outcomes supporting consumers and the ESB’s Post-2025 reforms.

“This also allows us some flexibility for new priorities, such as the consultation starting today on whether the rules can better protect customers affected by family violence.”

Ms Collyer said only a few current works were affected in the latest sequencing changes, and the impact on timing varied according to the individual review or project.

“We’ve applied a mix of strategies to get the timing right, including adding our staff to ESB projects where needed to keep those reforms progressing alongside related AEMC work,” she said. 

“As a people-first organisation we have aimed to minimise consultation over the Christmas and January holiday period – this is an action we know our stakeholders also highly value.”

Ms Collyer said a small number of AEMC projects will be extended or have a postponed start. An AEMO request on recovering participant fees is scheduled to begin in March next year and the AEC RIT-D rule change is scheduled for October 2022.

The draft determination on an Operating Reserves Market has been extended to June 2023, which will allow AEMO to prepare detailed technical advice for key elements of the potential new market. This, and other research into new and pending market changes, will inform the Commission’s draft decision.

“In a difficult decision, we have also paused our review of smart meters at the recent closing of submissions to the directions paper and we will return to develop the draft report from April 2022,” Ms Collyer said.

“Smart meters, collecting real-time demand and supply information, will play a crucial part in Australia’s smarter networks of the future.

“This decision was particularly difficult because we recognise the very high level of enthusiasm and commitment of our stakeholders to this review. The review team recently received nearly 60 well-considered submissions.

“The excellent response to the consultation period gives the Commission confidence that an accelerated rollout of smart meters will be achievable with targets to be determined in consultation with stakeholders.”

Ms Collyer said pausing the metering review will allow the review’s team members to temporarily assist other priority projects such as the Transmission Planning and Investment Review.

Ms Collyer thanked the many stakeholders who had contributed to the metering review so far, saying that the quality of their contributions confirmed the benefits of smart meters for both individuals and the community.

Read more about the pause of the Metering Review.

Read more about the Operating Reserves Market and related Ramping Services extensions.

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