Developing electricity guidelines and standards
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.
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 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 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
2012 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.
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 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.
|Power system security standards||
The Panel is required to review and determine standards that govern the security of the power system.
To date, the only Power system security standards that are active under the National Electricity Rules are the Frequency operating standard for the Mainland and Tasmania.
On 30 March 2017, the Panel commenced the most recent Review of the frequency operating standard for Tasmania and the mainland. In November 2017, the Panel published the latest revision of the Frequency operating standard for the Mainland and Tasmania.
|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 power system security. These principles must take into account the costs and benefits to the extent practicable.
To date the panel has not determined a need for any principles or guidelines for maintaining power system security.
|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.
|Determination of protected events||
A protected event is a low likelihood, high consequence non-credible contingency event for which AEMO must maintain the power system security standards, including the frequency operating standards, following the occurrence of the event.
|Determination of guidelines for AEMOs power system frequency reviews||If the Panel considers it necessary or desirable it may determine guidelines for power system frequency reviews conducted by AEMO.
To date the Panel has not determined any guidelines for power system frequency reviews.
|Review of System Standards||
The Panel is required to monitor, review and publish a report on the system standards in terms of whether they appropriately and adequately describe the expected technical performance conditions of the power system.
The system standards are set out in Schedule 5.1a of the NER and include the frequency operating standards.