Australian Energy Market Operator

Summary

On 15 October 2021, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), on behalf of itself, AEMO Industry Participants and Future AEMO Industry Participants, lodged an application for authorisation, including requesting urgent interim authorisation, to enable these bodies to discuss, agree to, or engage in any conduct in the electricity industry which has the purpose of:

  • Co-ordinating repairs and maintenance - planning for and/or minimising any disruptions to electricity supply, for example, by coordinating scheduling of any repairs, maintenance and other works requiring outages,
  • Sharing essential personnel - sharing information and/or entering into common arrangements in relation to essential employees and contractors to ensure there are sufficient personnel to maintain and operate electricity infrastructure,
  • Sharing essential inputs - sharing information about the availability of, and/or entering into arrangements to share, essential inputs for electricity production, generation, transmission, distribution and supply systems and infrastructure, such as parts, equipment or specialised resources necessary for essential maintenance, as well as other consumable materials necessary for the operation of their facilities (but in all cases excluding fuel for thermal generators), and
  • Sharing information regarding ongoing operation - sharing of information related to the ongoing availability, performance and/or operation of their facilities and any risks to ongoing availability, performance and/or operation,

provided in each case, the conduct is done for the purpose of ensuring safe, secure and reliable electricity and to minimise the risk of any outages during the pandemic (the Proposed Conduct).

The Proposed Conduct for which authorisation is sought, relates to the electricity industry only. In September 2020, the ACCC granted authorisation for similar conduct, which also applied to the gas industry and to a broader range of conduct. The 2020 Authorisation was granted with conditions including imposing a reporting obligation, and a requirement that any agreements made under the authorisation cease when authorisation expires or is revoked. The 2020 Authorisation expired on 31 May 2021.

A copy of the current application is available by following the link below.

AEMO has applied for urgent interim authorisation so that AEMO, AEMO Industry Participants and Future AEMO Industry Participants can work together immediately to ensure the reliability of electricity supplies during the pandemic and moving into the summer season.

On 27 October 2021, the ACCC granted urgent interim authorisation for AEMO, AEMO Industry Participants and Future AEMO Industry Participants to engage in the Proposed Conduct with conditions. A copy of the decision is available below.

The ACCC is now seeking submissions in relation to substantive application for authorisation by 12 November 2021.  Please refer to the ACCC’s consultation letter, available below, for further information about making a submission.

An indicative timetable for the ACCC’s assessment is set out below.

Indicative date

Stage in assessment process

15 October 2021

Lodgement of application

27 October 2021

ACCC grants interim authorisation

27 October 2021

Consultation on the application commences

12 November 2021

Closing date for submissions on authorisation

26 November 2021

Applicant’s response to submissions due

December 2021

ACCC draft determination

December/January 2022

Public consultation on the draft determination

February/March 2022

ACCC final determination

Applicant(s)

  • Australian Energy Market Operator

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000586-1

Applications

Document title Date

Decisions

Document title Date

ACCC correspondence