Under the National Electricity Law (NEL) and the National Electricity Rules (NER) the AEMC and the Reliability Panel are obligated to make determinations, guidelines, standards and settings on a range of matters, and to maintain and keep these up-to-date.

AEMC obligations

The AEMC is responsible for:

  • certain reliability settings (the annual indexation of the market price cap and cumulative price threshold)
  • the last resort planning powers
  • guidelines for and determinations of compensation following the application of the administered price cap.

Reliability Panel obligations

The Reliability Panel is responsible for:

  • making power system security standards and guidelines e.g for the frequency operating standard
  • making guidelines to assist the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to perform its power system and security and reliability functions e.g. guidelines to assist in the operation of the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT).
  • reviewing the reliability standard and settings, and making recommendations to the Commission when it considers these should change
  • reviewing and determining the generator compliance template.

Reviews, guidelines and standards

The Panel’s reviews, guidelines and standards are summarised in the table below.

More detailed information on these can be found on the electricity guidelines and standards page.

Review, guideline or standard Details
Annual Market Performance Review (AMPR)

The AMPR examines the performance of the National Electricity Market (NEM) in terms of reliability, security and safety of the power system.

The Panel has been conducting this annual review since 2006. The review considers the performance of the NEM’s wholesale generation and bulk transmission (i.e. interconnection) sectors. A summary of the reliability performance of local transmission and distribution networks is also provided in the report. Standards relating to distribution and transmission networks are set by jurisdictions.

Access the latest version of the AMPR.

Reliability Standard and Settings Review

Every four years the Panel is required to review the reliability standard and the reliability settings. This periodic review enables the Panel to consider whether the standards and settings remain suitable for current market arrangements and to ensure they continue to meet the requirements of the market, market participants and consumers.  

Since changes to the reliability standard must be subject to the rule change process the outcome of the Panel’s review allows for regular review of these market settings. 

In reviewing the standard and settings the Panel has regard to a Reliability Standard and Settings Guideline, which it prepares. In December 2016, the Panel published the first reliability standard and settings guidelines. The guidelines outline the principles and assumptions that the Panel will use in conducting the reliability standard and settings review.

On 30 April 2018 the Panel completed the 2018 reliability standard and settings review, which considered the standard and settings to apply in the NEM from 1 July 2020 to 1 July 2024.  The Panel recommended retaining the current levels of the reliability standard and settings as they remain appropriate to support reliability in the NEM.

Template for Generator Compliance Review

The template for generator compliance programs seeks to define “good electricity industry practice” in the management of generator plant performance and adherence to standards. The template provides certainty for generators as to what is required of their compliance programs.

Generators must develop and maintain compliance programs in line with the template.

The template was reviewed in 2015.

The Commission is currently considering a rule change that proposes a number of changes to the technical performance standards for generators seeking to connect to the national electricity grid, and the process for negotiating those standards. The Commission has outlined that following the making of any final rule, it will request that the Reliability Panel reviews the template for generator compliance programs for consistency with new access standards.

Publication of AEMO's electricity demand forecast report

Under the National Electricity Rules AEMO is required to prepare a report on the accuracy of its demand forecasts (as presented in the most recent Electricity statement of opportunities) and any improvements made by AEMO or other related parties to the forecasting process. 

The current National Electricity Rules require AEMO to publish this report on its own website, no less than annually. 

Previously AEMO was required to provide this report to the Panel with the Panel obliged to publish it on its website. Links to historic reports are provided below:

Report on demand forecast accuracy for the SOO 2008
Report on demand forecast accuracy for the ESOO 2009
Report on demand forecast accuracy for the ESOO 2010
Report on demand forecast accuracy for the ESOO 2011

2012 demand forecast accuracy report
2013 demand forecast accuracy report
2014 demand forecast accuracy report
2015 demand forecast accuracy report
2016 demand forecast accuracy report
2017 demand forecast accuracy report

The Reliability Panel recognises that demand forecasts play an essential role in the market where they may be used by stakeholders when making key operational and investment decisions. It is important that robust and reliable forecasting is available to facilitate these business requirements. Demand forecasts are also important to end-use consumers to provide transparency and improve awareness of energy use and other market issues.

The Reliability Panel will continue to review the forecasting reports provided by AEMO and undertake its broader review under the annual market performance review process.

Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) guidelines

The RERT is a mechanism in the National Electricity Rules that allows AEMO to contract for reserves up to nine months ahead of a period where AEMO projects there to be a projected reserve shortfall. A projected reserve shortfall is where the amount of generation, interconnector and demand response capacity is projected to be below the level consistent with the reliability standard.

The Panel is required to develop and publish guidelines which provide guidance for AEMO in its operation of the RERT. The most recent version of these guidelines was published in July 2018.

System Restart Standard

The Panel has a role in developing the system restart standard. When determining the level of restart services to be procured, the Panel is required to consider how best to minimise the impacts of a major blackout for consumers, taking the national electricity objective into account.

The Panel recently reviewed the system restart standard in 2015-16, with the final Report and standard were published on 15 December 2016. The new Standard came into effect in July 2018.

Performance standards

The Panel is required to publish a report on the implementation of automatic access standards and minimum access standards as performance standards.

In April 2009, the Panel completed a Technical Standards Review which included reviewing:

  • the automatic access standards and minimum access standards;
  • individual technical standards; and
  • the interaction between the system, access and plant-specific standards as a whole.

The Commission is currently considering a rule change that proposes a number of changes to the technical performance standards for generators seeking to connect to the national electricity grid, and the process for negotiating those standards.

Plant standards A Registered Participant, AEMO or interested party may request the Panel to determine whether an existing Australian or international standard may be adopted as a plant standard for a particular class of plant. To date, no party has requested the Panel to determine this.
Principles and Guidelines for Maintaining Power System Security

The Panel is required to develop and publish principles and guidelines that determine how AEMO should maintain determine the power system security. These principles must take into account the costs and benefits to the extent practicable

“In 2008 and 2009 the Panel completed review of the Tasmanian frequency operating standards and and the mainland frequency operating standards in the NEM during periods of supply scarcity.The frequency operating standards define the range of allowable frequencies for the power system that can occur during a major power system incident.

On 30 March 2017, the Panel commenced a review of the existing frequency operating standards for Tasmania and the mainland. Stage one of this review was completed on 14 November 2017.

Guidelines for Intervention by AEMO for the Provision of Reserves

The Panel is required to determine guidelines governing AEMO’s exercise of power to issue directions in connection with maintaining or re-establishing the power system in a reliable operating state.

If there is a major supply shortfall in the NEM, AEMO must implement any necessary involuntary load shedding in an equitable manner, and in accordance with the  guidelines established by the Panel  as part of the power system security and reliability standards.

In December 2009, the Panel published guidelines for the management of electricity supply shortfall events

System Operating Incident Guidelines The Panel is required to determine guidelines identifying or providing for the identification of operating incidents that are of significance.

AEMO uses the guidelines as a basis for determining whether to review a power system incident.

The latest of these guidelines were set in April 2013.

Review of System Standards

The Panel is required to monitor, review and publish a report on the system standards in terms of whether it appropriately and adequately describes the expected technical performance conditions of the power system.

To date, the only system standards that are active under the National Electricity Rules are the Frequency operating standard for the Mainland and Tasmania.