Distribution networks transport electricity from transmission networks to end-use customers. The high voltage electricity that is used for transmission from the generator is converted into lower voltages by substation transformers. It is then carried in wires over poles - or in densely populated areas, in wires buried underground - to businesses and homes.
There are 13 major distribution networks in the National Electricity Market jurisdictions.
Reliability refers to the extent to which customers have a continuous supply of electricity. Distribution networks are required to meet reliability standards that, in most cases, are set by jurisdictional governments. The level of reliability that distribution networks are required to provide affects the level of investment that network businesses undertake. This feeds through to the electricity prices paid by customers.
The AEMC has proposed a national framework to establish better ways to set reliability standards which take account of the value placed on reliability by customers.
In 2012 we established a national framework for electricity distribution network planning and expansion. This supports distribution businesses and other market participants to make efficient investment decisions which in turn will facilitate the efficient development of distribution networks in the long term interests of consumers.