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 was 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.

AEMO applied for urgent interim authorisation so that AEMO, AEMO Industry Participants and Future AEMO Industry Participants could 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.

On 15 December 2021 the ACCC issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation until 27 October 2022, with conditions that require AEMO to regularly report to the ACCC about material decisions or arrangements discussed at coordination meetings, and for the termination of any arrangements entered into upon the expiry of ACCC authorisation. A copy of the draft determination is available below.

On 23 February 2022, the ACCC granted authorisation to AEMO, AEMO Industry Participants and Future AEMO Industry Participants, until 27 October 2022 (which is 12 months after interim authorisation was granted, as requested by AEMO), with the above mentioned conditions.

A copy of the ACCC’s final determination and a copy of the application for authorisation are available below.

Applicant(s)

  • Australian Energy Market Operator

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000586-1

Applications

Document title Date

Decisions

Consultations

Submissions - after draft decision

Document title Date