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.
  • reviewing the reliability standard and settings
  • 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 bulk wholesale electricity systems. Performance at the local transmission and distribution level provided by jurisdictional bodies, distributors and transmission network service providers are also provided in the report.

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.  

The AEMC completed a rule change in March 2015 that amended the arrangements for the reliability standard. Under the rule, changes to the reliability standard must be subject to the rule change process. This reflects arrangements in place for the reliability settings.

The new rule also required the Panel to develop Reliability Standard and Settings Guidelines outlining the principles and assumptions it will use in conducting the reliability standard and settings review. In December 2016, the Panel published the first reliability standard and settings guidelines. 

On 30 March 2017 the Panel commenced the 2018 reliability standard and settings review, for which a draft report was published in November 2017.

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 recently reviewed in 2015.

Publication of AEMO's electricity demand forecast report

The National Electricity Rules require AEMO to prepare and provide a report to the Reliability Panel by 1 November each year on the accuracy of AEMO’s demand forecasts, as published in AEMO’s most recent Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO), and any improvements made by AEMO or other related parties to the forecasting process that will apply to the next ESOO.

The Reliability Panel is subsequently required to publish the report provided by AEMO within ten business days of receiving it.

Since 2012, AEMO has published its demand forecasts in its National Electricity Forecasting Report (NEFR). As a result, it is the NEFR which is the subject of AEMO’s report on the accuracy of its demand forecasts.

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.

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

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 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.

System Restart Standard

The AEMC made a rule on 15 April 2015 that amended the requirements for the Panel in determining the Standard. The new rule clarifies the role of the Panel in developing the Standard and requires that when determining the level of restart services to be procured, the Panel must consider how best to minimise the impacts of a major blackout for consumers, taking the national electricity objective into account.

Following the rule change, the AEMC provided the Panel with Terms of Reference on 30 June 2015 to review the Standard, to reflect the changes made to the SRAS arrangements in the above rule change. The Final Report and Standard were published on 15 December 2016. The new Standard will apply from July 2018 when the current SRAS contracts end.

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.
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.”

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.

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.
Reliability Standard and Settings Guidelines

As part of the 2014 review of the reliability standard and settings, the Panel recommended that the AEMC and/or the Panel develop a methodology for future reviews of the reliability standard and settings (review), and that this methodology consider how the outcomes of any market modelling should be treated.

In response to this recommendation, in December 2016, the Panel published the first reliability standard and settings guidelines. The guidelines themselves do not determine the values of the reliability standard (the standard) and the reliability settings (the settings). These will be determined by the Panel in each review. Rather, the guidelines set out the principles and assumptions that the Panel is to apply in undertaking each review.