Reliability that delivers for customers

Australians naturally expect a high level of reliability from their electricity supply.

While increased investment in “poles and wires” to improve reliability contributed to higher electricity prices in New South Wales and Queensland in the current regulatory period, recent decisions of those governments to remove prescriptive reliability planning standards could save more than $2 billion in capital expenditure in the next 5 years.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) made an in-principle agreement on 7 December 2012 to adopt a national framework under which customers would be engaged on reliability and networks would invest in reliability up to the amount that customers are willing to pay.

Together ENA’s transmission and distribution network members support a national framework which ensures that:

  • reliability spending occurs efficiently to provide the service that customers value, with customers engaged in a meaningful and timely manner;
  • independent oversight of the way reliability targets are set while maintaining a continuing customer relationship with the distribution network businesses;
  • provides the flexibility and incentives for distribution networks to innovate to improve customer outcomes.

The COAG Energy Council will consider the application by jurisdictions of a principles based national framework at its mid-2015 meeting. In addition to the development of a national framework, the COAG Energy Council tasked the AEMC with developing a set of common definitions for distribution reliability measures. ENA welcomed the opportunity to participate in an advisory capacity to the AEMC’s Review of Distribution Reliability Measures.

The AEMC’s Final Report, published on 18 September 2014, delivers a set of nationally consistent distribution reliability measures that can be widely adopted with the support of the COAG Energy Council. An important proposed change is to the measurement of momentary interruptions, to encourage greater use of smart network technologies including distribution feeder automation and self-healing networks.

ENA supports the COAG Energy Council seeking a rule change in 2015 to give the AER responsibility for supporting and maintaining nationally consistent definitions of distribution reliability.

ENA publications and submissions