ACCC gives nod for electricity industry coordination in NEM

Transmission towers against sunset (ACCC coordination)
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The ACCC has given authorisation for the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and electricity industry participants in the National Electricity Market (NEM) to coordinate the scheduling of repairs, maintenance, upgrades and new connections, and associated information sharing.

Related article: ACCC to deny coordination between electricity participants

The ACCC said it recognised the challenges in managing the NEM during the ongoing transition to renewable electricity generation. The ACCC also noted  there was a suite of reforms, including some that have been recently implemented and others currently under consideration, aimed at assisting AEMO manage the scheduling of outages during the transition to renewable electricity generation.

“The proposed coordination will increase AEMO’s ability to manage the scheduling of outages, providing greater security for the supply of electricity over the next two summer periods, which are forecast to be challenging,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.

Due to concerns that this kind of coordination and information sharing between competitors could reduce competition in the supply of electricity and the acquisition of maintenance services as well as create information disparities within the broader electricity market, the ACCC has imposed a series of conditions for this authorisation.

“With transparency and reporting conditions, we are satisfied that the proposed coordination is likely to result in public benefits that would outweigh the likely harm to competition,” Keogh said.

Related article: ACCC urges Aussies to seek out cheaper electricity

Following the ACCC’s draft determination proposing not to grant authorisation in October 2023, AEMO provided further information in support of its public benefit claims and reduced the period for which it was seeking authorisation. The ACCC also received submissions from industry participants and state energy departments in support of the application and the public benefits.

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