The AEMC makes and amends the National Energy Rules under the National Energy Laws

These rules and the amendments:

  • affect how market participants can operate in the competitive generation and retail sectors
  • provide specific protections for consumers to whom energy is sold and supplied
  • govern the economic regulation of electricity transmission and distribution services and gas pipelines.

View our current rule change projects.

Under the National Energy Laws, all of the AEMC’s work is guided by the three legislated national energy objectives:

Each objective requires an explicit focus on the long-term interests of energy consumers in our rule making decisions and advice.

The rules play a central role in governing how the energy market operates. However, there are also a number of other laws which we take into account and which influence outcomes in the energy market, for example:

  • state and territory gas and electricity legislation
  • national competition and consumer laws
  • renewable energy targets
  • emissions and renewable energy targets, as listed in our targets statement

Changing the rules – a unique process

Stakeholders can shape the design and regulation of the market through participation in the rule change process, including by submitting rule change requests.

A unique aspect of our role is that any party, except the AEMC, can propose a change to the rules.

Rule changes that are recommended as part of an AEMC review can also be requested by any party.

Stakeholders may also request the AEMC make a trial rule. A trial rule is a temporary rule that applies to a limited portion of the market for a period of up to 5 years. It forms part of the Energy Innovation Toolkit which enables the regulatory framework to facilitate market innovation. A trial rule can only be made if an innovative trial project is unable to proceed under the existing regulatory framework or with a trial waiver.

The effectiveness of stakeholder participation in the process determines the quality of the market outcomes. Effective engagement provides valuable input to the rule change process.

Active and early engagement assists us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the potential impacts of our decisions and, in so doing, produce well-informed, high quality rule changes. Engagement with stakeholders is conducted through a number of mediums such as seeking written submissions and participation in meetings, workshops and forums.

Scope of Work

Since the AEMC’s inception in 2005, we have dealt with over 360 rule change requests from a variety of different proponents including governments, members of industry, consumer groups, energy regulatory market bodies, public advocacy groups, major energy user groups, business groups and individuals.

The rule change process

There are a number of formal stages in a standard rule change process:

  1. The Proponent submits a rule change request
  2. The AEMC commences rule change process and seeks submissions on the rule change request
  3. Stakeholders (including the proponent, if they wish) lodge submissions on the rule change proposal
  4. The AEMC publishes a draft rule determination and seeks submissions on the draft determination
  5. Stakeholders (including the proponent, if they wish) lodge submission on draft rule determination
  6. The AEMC publishes a final rule determination.

In addition to the steps referred to above, the Commission seeks to engage with stakeholders through discussions throughout the rule change process which can take the form of informal one-on-one discussions, workshops, forums and technical working groups.

Rule change timeframes

The AEMC undertakes four types of rule change processes which operate to different timeframes.

Standard rule changes

The timeframe for a standard rule change process is approximately 6 months from the publication of a consultation paper on the proposed rule to the final rule determination; however this timeframe can be extended in certain circumstances. Under the standard process there are two opportunities for stakeholders to make written submissions in advance of the draft and final determinations.

Expedited rule changes

The Commission may expedite the rule making process if the request is for a non-controversial or urgent rule (these terms are defined in the NEL, NGL and NERL). Under the expedited process there is only one round of written consultation on the rule change and no draft determination is made. A final determination must be made within eight weeks of commencement of the rule change.

Fast-tracked rule changes

The rule making process can be fast tracked where there has been adequate previous public consultation on proposed rule changes by an energy regulatory body or if the request arises from an AEMC review. Under the fast-track process, there is only one round of consultation on a draft rule and determination.

Trial rule changes

Under the trial rule change process there is only one round of written consultation on the trial rule change and no draft determination is made. A final determination must be made within ten weeks of commencement of the rule change.

Additional resources

Stages of the rules change process

View the different stages of a rule change project

  1. Making a rule change request
  2. Consultation paper
  3. Draft determination consultation
  4. Final determination


You can download and view our comprehensive:


You can also view the calendar to view upcoming critical dates around rule changes.

Legal framework

For electricity, you can view:

For gas, you can view:

For retail, you can view