On 18 October 2023, Energy Ministers agreed to expand the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) wholesale market monitoring and reporting (WMMR) powers for the wholesale electricity and gas markets, to provide the AER with greater visibility over electricity and gas contract markets.
The proposed changes to the National Electricity Law (NEL) and National Gas Law (NGL) aim to:
- expand the AER’s WMMR remit to include electricity contract markets;
- mirror this expanded function for wholesale gas markets;
- remove restrictions on the AER’s performance of this function, and
- introduce new transparency and accountability measures.
Reform process and consultation
On 24 February 2023, Energy Ministers agreed to expedite measures expanding the AER’s gas and electricity market monitoring powers, an essential function for a well-regulated and stable east-coast energy market.
On 13 April 2023, the draft National Energy Laws Amendment (Wholesale Market Monitoring) Bill 2023 and consultation paper were released for a three-week public consultation. Submissions closed on 4 May 2023.
A stakeholder forum was held on 19 April to provide stakeholders with an overview of the consultation paper and provide an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions. The slides presented at the session are available.
Eight submissions were received, and all submissions not marked confidential are accessible below. Officials used this stakeholder feedback to inform the development of the final legislative package for these reforms.
Energy Ministers have released an information paper that provides an overview of the final reforms and how stakeholder feedback on the draft Bill has been addressed.
The Energy Ministers agreed to submit the following Bill, Rules and Regulations to the South Australian Parliament:
- National Energy Laws Amendment (Wholesale Market Monitoring) Bill 2023
- National Energy Laws Amendment (Wholesale Market Monitoring) Regulations 2023
- National Electricity Amendment (Wholesale Market Monitoring) Rules 2023
- National Gas Amendment (Wholesale Market Monitoring) Rules 2023
A South Australian version of the Bill is currently before parliament. Once this Bill passes through parliament that a South Australian version of the regulations can be made.
Following passage of the reforms an initial rules package will be made by the relevant South Australian Minister setting out details on the operation of the AER’s expanded WMMR function.
The AER will undertake consultation on the development of Guidelines setting out how it will undertake its expanded WMMR function. At a minimum the Guidelines will address:
- The type of information to be routinely requested.
- The type of information that will not be routinely requested.
- The frequency of information requests.
- The format of information to be submitted.
- Processes the AER proposes to adopt in requesting information including processes designed to minimise the time and resources businesses must devote to responding.
- How commercially sensitive information will be kept securely.
In response to stakeholder feedback the AER will have new information gathering powers tailored to its WMMR function. The final Bill requires the AER to consult with affected parties prior to issuing or serving a notice or order.
Should you have any questions please email WMMR@dcceew.gov.au.
- Alinta Energy