Rule Change: Completed

Overview

This rule is likely to improve market transparency by providing an opportunity for all potentially affected registered participants to raise any concerns about a proposed change to the normal voltage level at an electricity transmission or distribution connection point. The rule may also help to reduce any potential physical and commercial risks that registered participants might face as a result of a proposed change to the normal voltage level.

Overall, the rule is likely to assist registered participants to make informed investment decisions, which would improve efficiency in investment in generation services and in the operation of generation and network services.
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On 28 February 2013, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) published a final determination and more preferable final rule on the ‘Changes to normal voltage’ rule change proposal, submitted by GDF Suez (formerly International Power).

The purpose of the final rule is to improve transparency around requests to change the normal voltage level at electricity transmission or distribution connection points. This would assist registered participants to make more informed investment and operational decisions. A more preferable rule has been made as the Commission considers that the final rule will, or is likely to, better contribute to the achievement of the National Electricity Objective than the rule proposed by GDF Suez, as it would promote efficient investment in generation services and in the operation of generation and network services.

Under the AEMC’s final rule, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) would be required to publish a notice to notify registered participants that it has received a request to change the normal voltage level at a connection point. AEMO would then be required to publish a further notice to notify registered participants of the nature and reasons for any change in the normal voltage level.

The final rule largely reflects the more preferable draft rule which was published by the Commission in November 2012. However, a small drafting change has been made to further improve transparency around the process for requests to change the normal voltage level.

Background

Normal voltage is the voltage level at which a transmission or distribution line normally operates. The level is set to meet the design rating limits of a line. Connected parties must ensure that their equipment is able to meet the normal voltage level specified at their connection point.

GDF Suez was concerned that the definition of ‘normal voltage’ in the glossary of the National Electricity Rules (NER) suggested that the normal voltage level could be varied through an agreement with AEMO and the relevant network service provider, without a requirement to comply with the processes in rule 5.3 of the NER for establishing or modifying a connection.

To address its concerns, GDF Suez sought to create a reference to rule 5.3 in the definition of ‘normal voltage’ in the NER glossary to require network service providers to comply with the provisions in rule 5.3 if they receive a request to change normal voltage.

The AEMC published a consultation paper on this rule change request on 23 August 2012. Submissions on the consultation paper closed on 20 September 2012 and eight submissions were received.

On 29 November 2012, the AEMC published a draft determination and more preferable draft rule on the rule change request. Submissions on the draft determination closed on 18 January 2013 and four submissions were received.

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Documentation

DRAFT

AEMC documents

Submissions on Draft determination