Energy supply emergency management in Australia

Responses to energy supply emergencies in Australia vary depending on the type (either gas, electricity or liquid fuels) and scale of energy supply disruption.

The Department of the Environment and Energy plays a key role in coordinating and supporting responses by governments and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to maintain or restore supply in energy emergencies of a large or multi-jurisdictional scale, or with national or international consequences.

State and territory governments have primary responsibility to protect life, property and the environment in their jurisdiction and so control most energy emergency functions. Similarly, energy businesses are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of their assets and operations.

AEMO manages electricity disruptions in the National Electricity Market, which is the electricity market spanning the east coast of Australia.

Activities include:

  • leading or participating in COAG Energy Council and industry-led energy emergency management forums
  • contributing to whole of Australian Government initiatives to support state and territory governments, where the response required exceeds jurisdictional resources and response on matters outside of state and territory responsibilities
  • response to matters outside of state and territory responsibilities.

The Department of the Environment and Energy also supports the Australian Government’s response to a national liquid fuel emergency where the Australian Government has powers and obligations conferred through the Liquid Fuels Emergency Act 1984.

The main principle underpinning the Australian Government’s response to energy supply emergencies is for government intervention to be a last resort, once all market and industry attempts to manage the situation have been exhausted.

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