ENGIE has paid $60,000 in penalties after the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) alleged it failed to follow dispatch instructions from the energy market operator during a system event on December 1, 2016.
AER chair Paul Conboy said failures to follow dispatch instructions can have serious implications for security of the power system.
“Compliance with these obligations is a focus for the AER and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action to deal with serious failures to comply,” Ms Conboy said.
The AER issued three infringement notices to Synergen Power (part of the ENGIE group) and accepted a court enforceable undertaking from ENGIE.
Ms Conboy said South Australia had become electrically isolated from the rest of the national electricity market due to a fault on the transmission network in Victoria and was not in a secure operating state.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) needed to direct participants to manage power system security.
“This was a very serious incident that required all market participants to act in accordance with their obligations,” Ms Conboy said.
“The market needs to have confidence generators will be there when called upon by AEMO.
“Failure to do so can compromise the reliability and security of the system.”
The AER issued the notices because it had reason to believe that Synergen Power failed to follow dispatch instructions from AEMO for each of its three generators at the Dry Creek Power Station in South Australia on December 1, 2016.
The AER investigation found flaws in ENGIE’s operations, including not having sufficient resources or facilities available to ensure that the Dry Creek units could respond promptly to AEMO dispatch instructions.
The AER can issue an infringement notice where it has reason to believe a business has contravened a civil penalty provision of the National Electricity Law or Electricity Rules.
The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a breach or an admission of liability.