Electricity market transformation

As the owner and operator of electricity distribution networks, our role in supplying power to customers has evolved.  Historically, there was a one-way flow of energy sourced from a small number of very large generators and transported through our networks.

Now there is a two-way flow of electricity from thousands of smaller generators, most of them private homes with solar panels on their roofs.

So while we are continuing to provide reliable, safe and affordable electricity, how we do it now involves significant innovation in managing the increasingly complex and sophisticated system behind it.

Our purpose is to ensure all forms of distributed energy resources – like solar, batteries, smart appliances and electric vehicles – are integrated flexibly into our networks.  By providing seamless access, we are generating new value for all customers.

“The traditional model of how electricity is generated and distributed to customers is now a distant memory. “

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New roles and services

Our role as a Distribution System Operator (DSO) expands on our traditional services and involves three main functions:

1. Enabling customer choices like solar, batteries and electric vehicles. These are all types of distributed energy resources and our role is to ensure they are seamlessly connected to our network so they can export their excess power and share it with neighbours or the wholesale electricity market.

2. Facilitating new competition. New trader services such as electricity aggregators are coming into the market and developing new opportunities for customers to participate too. We contribute to this new market by signalling network conditions such as where there is capacity or constraints that influence how these third parties trade and move electricity through our networks.

3. Maintaining system security and network stability. This is done in coordination with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

We are investing in technology and innovation to expand our network capabilities and resources to perform these new roles.  Dedicated teams are:

  • Working on new ways to enable more exports by customers
  • Developing new products and services
  • Testing and implementing new technical solutions
  • Developing leading edge information technology and telecommunications.

Part of the national conversation

Our people have also been selected to participate in various working groups and committees that are responsible for developing the rules, regulations, standards and guidelines for the electricity market.

Through these forums, we advocate for both the efficient development of the electricity system and the most cost-effective solutions and outcomes for customers.

Building customer benefits

We believe all customers should have equal opportunity to benefit from the market changes and opportunities irrespective of their level of active participation in the National Electricity Market.

Customers who choose to get involved by investing in solar or other forms of distributed energy can receive direct financial benefits.

But there can be many reasons why customers choose not to take part such as financial reasons, the lack of a suitable roof for solar or challenges associated with living in apartments or rental properties.

All our customers can benefit from the environmental outcomes achieved from enabling more renewable energy in our electricity supplies.  And where our networks can save money by investing in technologies like batteries rather than higher cost upgrades to our infrastructure, customers can benefit from lower network tariffs.

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