Learn Introduction to Utilities

Regulation

As essential services, Australia’s electricity, gas, water and telecommunications are overseen by a number of official bodies.

Energy and Water

Electricity and gas supplies are managed with reference to the National Energy Objectives.

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) makes and amends the National Electricity Rules, National Gas Rules and National Energy Retail Rules. It also provides market advice to governments. Any stakeholder, including consumers, can request rule changes and make submissions regarding the rules.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) monitors and enforces compliance of energy market participants with the law, rules and regulations. As the economic regulator of network businesses, the AER decides on the amount of revenue that electricity and gas network businesses can recover from customers. The AER operates the Energy Made Easy comparison website for consumers, and has close links with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) operates the National Electricity Market, as well as the Wholesale Electricity market in Western Australia, and a range of wholesale and retail gas market services. AEMO has the responsibility of ensuring that electricity supply balances with changing customer demand. Generators advise AEMO of how much electricity they can supply, and at what price, and AEMO directs the generators to supply in order from cheapest to most expensive, until there is enough electricity to fill customer need. AEMO also ensures that there is spare capacity in case it’s needed, and has the power to direct generators to switch on, or networks to switch off customers, in case of severe imbalance in supply and demand.

The Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) is the independent regulator responsible for licensing of electricity generation, distribution and transmission businesses, gas distribution systems, and water and sewerage retail service providers. For water, ESCOSA carries out price determinations to ensure the prices customers pay are fair and reasonable. ESCOSA administers the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES), and determines the minimum Retailer Solar Feed-in Tariff.

Telecommunications

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is the independent regulator of telecommunications, broadcasting, radiocommunications, and the internet. ACMA has the job of ensuring that the various laws, regulations, and other guidelines regarding media and communications operate effectively and efficiently, and in the public interest, with particular respect to technical matters and licensing.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is the independent statutory authority responsible for competition and consumer affairs regulation in Australia, including telecommunications. The ACCC ensures compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, and promotes competition and fair trade.