The Minister for Energy has announced the commencement of the improved governance arrangements for Western Australia’s energy sector.
Roles and responsibilities of energy sector governance bodies have now been realigned such that:
- The Coordinator of Energy (the Coordinator), supported by Energy Policy WA, is responsible for policy, market development, strategic planning and overall coordination;
- The Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) is responsible for economic regulation and price setting, licencing and compliance monitoring; and
- The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is responsible for system operation, market operation and associated market administration.
Under the new framework, the Coordinator will undertake administration of the Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) Rules and Gas Services Information (GSI) Rules, transferred from the former Rule Change Panel.
Industry bodies, the Market Advisory Committee and Gas Advisory Board, will now be led by an independent Chair, providing advice on WEM and GSI Rule proposals as well as the evolution of the market. The Minister for Energy has announced that Mr Peter Kolf will undertake this role on an interim basis until a permanent independent Chair is appointed. Mr Kolf was previously the Chair of the Rule Change Panel, which has been discontinued as part of the transfer of market development functions to the Coordinator.
The Coordinator also assumes responsibility for administration of the new Pilbara Networks Rules, which come into force today, 1 July 2021. The Pilbara Networks Rules form part of the Pilbara electricity reforms, which established a light-handed access regime to facilitate the integration and operation of the North West Interconnected System.
Future periodic Whole of System Plans will also be developed by the Coordinator of Energy. The purpose of a Whole of System Plan is to plan for the efficient development of the South West Interconnected System to meet consumers’ needs, including with respect to Power System Security and Power System Reliability, and assist in the transition to a lower-emissions power system by guiding the efficient integration of renewable generation and identifying opportunities for new technologies.
To assist in managing the ongoing evolution of the energy sector and allow for various governance bodies to focus on their core roles, the Coordinator of Energy will also assume responsibility for market reviews of a policy or technical nature, including some reviews which have been transferred from the ERA.
Consultation on the improved governance arrangements was undertaken in late 2020, and Energy Policy WA thanks stakeholders for their valuable input.