COAG Energy Council: energy market transformation work program

The COAG Energy Council has a number of energy market reform projects underway. Its market transformation program aims to ensure regulatory frameworks can cope with the effects of emerging technologies. As part of this program the COAG Energy Council has released three consultation papers for stakeholder feedback. The AEMC has made submissions to all three.

Consumer protections

New business models and new technologies have emerged for the sale of electricity to customers particularly in relation to on-site renewable generation.  The Energy Council is seeking stakeholder views on appropriate consumer protections that should apply.

The AEMC submission to the consumer protections consultation paper highlights:

  • how consumer protections related to new products and services in the retail energy market is an important priority for policy reform
  • the need for consideration of energy specific consumer protections to take a broad view of the products and energy services offered in a transforming electricity market
  • a framework to inform how energy specific consumer protections should evolve over the longer term which would consider the purpose of developing energy specific consumer protections and what outcomes they should aim to protect; a set of key principles that could be applied to determine what and how consumer protections should apply as the market and technology develops; and how those key principles could be tested so that they generate sensible and consistent outcomes which are able to accommodate evolving products, services and market participants.

Stand-Alone Energy System

Generally, stand-alone systems are not currently captured under the national frameworks, and are subject to separate jurisdictional legislation. The Energy Council has released a paper on stand-alone systems to start consultation on key issues which could be considered as part of a future framework for regulating these systems.

The AEMC submission to the stand-alone systems consultation paper highlights:

  • current issues with the regulatory framework relating to the supply of electricity to customers via stand-alone energy systems which are largely excluded from the national regulatory framework, in relation to both economic regulation and consumer protections
  • possible restrictions on the uptake of stand-alone energy systems under the current regulatory framework which may undermine price efficiency and the overall reliability and safety of electricity supply. Such detriments may grow over time if they are not addressed because distributed energy resources are become more viable financially and provide significant opportunities for increased efficiency of electricity supply
  • principles for the development of a consumer protection and economic regulatory framework to allow the efficient uptake, investment in, and supply and use of stand-alone energy systems.

Energy storage

Interest in energy storage, particularly battery storage, is growing in Australia. The Energy Council has released an energy storage registration consultation paper on the merits of a registration system for batteries to support market operation and emergency response.

The AEMC submission to the energy storage registration consultation paper highlights:

  • considerations relating to proposals to establish an energy storage register so relevant authorities and organisations have access to data on battery storage facilities
  • discussion of whether there is merit in further exploring what information and data may be required; if that information could be obtained under the existing regulatory framework; or if there are gaps in this framework
  • questions that could be considered in relationship to the establishment of a register of this type including privacy and data access issues.