Council Priorities

  • Empowering Consumers

    Australia's energy markets operate under a set of rules and regulations that have a clear objective - to meet the long-term interests of consumers.

    Consumer choices and protections have been enhanced over the past 25 years through a series of major reforms. National laws have been introduced in most states and territories to ensure that most markets are regulated by a set of nationally consistent laws. Where these laws are not in place governments are working to ensure the rules governing electricity and gas markets and consumer protections are as consistent as possible.

    Increasing Choice

    The Council's Power of Choice initiatives will give consumers greater options in the way they source and use electricity through reforms which support the rollout of advanced meters and the development of innovative tariffs and energy services. This will help to empower consumers to make informed choices about their energy supply and use and decide which best meets their needs.

    Consumer protections and advocacy

    Australian consumers rely on access to a reliable supply of energy. Ensuring that consumers have fair and honest dealings with energy businesses provides them with the confidence to make good choices with their use and supply of energy.

    Reducing regulatory complexity and lowering barriers for energy service providers to enter the market means more competition and more opportunities for consumers to control their energy use and bills.

    Along with increasing competition have come stronger consumer protections through the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF).

    Consumers also have a voice in energy market matters through the creation of Energy Consumers Australia, a national advocacy body that aims to inform regulatory and policy decisions impacting on consumers.

  • Innovation

    The Council is committed to exploring innovative approaches to managing the transition of the energy system, through work such as the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy.

  • Australian Gas Markets

    Australia's gas markets are changing rapidly.

    The east coast gas markets are now interconnected and natural gas flows are more dynamic so gas can move across the network to where it is needed. The markets are also adjusting to emerging exposure to international gas prices as the export of gas from the east coast occurs for the first time.

    Balancing supply and demand is critical to ensuring that Australian consumers and industry can access affordable gas when and where they need it.

    The COAG Energy Council's (the Council) Australian Gas Market Vision underlies a number of initiatives to address supply and competition concerns, and to make it easier to buy and sell gas in Australia.

    Gas Supply

    Increasing gas demand is putting pressure on both gas supply and prices, and impacts certainty for business and consumers in domestic markets.

    The Council is working together to bring scientific and regulatory expertise to support the responsible development of onshore gas, offshore gas and underground gas storage.

    Read more about the Council's efforts to implement its Gas Supply Strategy.

    Gas Market Development

    The Council has committed to a comprehensive Gas Market Reform Package in August 2016, to drive the achievement of its Australian Gas Market Vision for a liquid wholesale gas market where an efficient reference price provides signals for investment and new gas supply.

    The reform package comprises four priority areas and 15 reform measures. The four priority areas are gas supply, market operation, gas transportation and market transparency.

    The Council has established a dedicated Gas Market Reform Group to lead the implementation of gas market reforms. 

  • Energy & Carbon Policy

    Electricity generation contributes around one third of Australia's total emissions, so has a critical role in meeting emissions reductions targets.

    Energy and Carbon

    Successful integration of climate and energy policy will be crucial to meeting Australia's climate change goals at least cost to the community.

    The Energy Council is developing new platforms to ensure policies on energy and climate change are assessed to maximise their benefit and avoid any unintended effects for prices and the energy market.

    In October 2017 the Energy Security Board provided the COAG Energy Council with advice on changes to the National Electricity Market (NEM) and legislative framework. The proposed National Energy Guarantee aims to support the provision of reliable, secure and affordable electricity with a focus on ensuring:

    • the reliability of the system is maintained

    • electricity sector emissions reductions needed to meet Australia’s international commitments are achieved

    • the above objectives are met at the lowest overall costs.

    Energy Productivity

    The National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP) is designed to increase the value we get from our investment in energy. It's an effective way to lower emissions and reduce costs, while improving our competitiveness and growing the economy and jobs.

  • Efficiency

    Energy & Carbon Policy

    The electricity sector contributes around one third of Australia's total emissions, so has a critical role in meeting emissions reductions targets. The Commonwealth, states, and territories have a range of policies that aim to reduce emissions in the electricity sector.

    Energy Productivity

    The National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP) is designed to increase the value we get from our investment in energy. It's an effective way to lower emissions and reduce costs, while improving our competitiveness and growing the economy and jobs.

    The E3 Program
    The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program increases the energy efficiency of appliances to reduce energy use, emissions and to help save households and businesses money.

     

  • Reliability

    The Council is committed to ensuring the reliability of Australia’s energy markets through initiatives such as the Retailer Reliability Obligation (RRO).

    The RRO commenced on 1 July 2019. It was designed by the independent Energy Security Board to provide an incentive to market participants to invest in the right technologies in regions where it is needed, to support reliability in the National Electricity Market.  

  • Governance

    The COAG Energy Council (the Council) is a Ministerial forum made up of representatives of the Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand governments. It has responsibility for monitoring and reforming national energy markets. This includes increasing the nationwide consistency of national energy market regulatory frameworks to reduce costs and improve energy sector efficiency. More information can be found in the Council’s Terms of Reference.

    The role of the Council in energy market reform and the associated governance arrangements are set out the intergovernmental agreement known as the Australian Energy Market Agreement (AEMA), as amended December 2013.

    The Council is supported in developing national energy market policy by the Senior Committee of Officials (SCO). SCO is composed of senior officials from Council members and is chaired by the Commonwealth.

    The Council has oversight of the three national market institutions responsible for the operation of national energy markets, including the National Electricity Market (NEM). These are:

    The Energy Security Board (ESB) was established in August 2017 by the Council to coordinate the implementation of the reform blueprint produced by Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel. 

    The ESB will also provide whole of system oversight for energy security and reliability to drive better outcomes for consumers. The ESB reports to the Council.

    A comprehensive review of energy market governance, the Review of Governance Arrangements in Australian Energy Markets, was completed in October 2015 and was considered by Ministers at the December 2015 Council meeting. For more information about the Review, click here.

    The Council also works closely with:

    An overview on the Energy Market Governance Framework.

     

     

  • Energy Security Board

    Overview of the Energy Security Board

    In August 2017 a new Energy Security Board (ESB), chaired by Dr Kerry Schott AO, was established by the COAG Energy Council. The Board’s role is to coordinate the implementation of the reform blueprint produced by Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO.

    The ESB will also provide whole of system oversight for energy security and reliability to drive better outcomes for consumers. The ESB comprises an Independent Chair, Independent Deputy Chair and the heads of the Australian Energy Market Commission, Australian Energy Regulator and Australian Energy Market Operator.

    More information on the Overview of the ESB can be found in it's Terms of Reference.

    Retailer Reliability Obligation

    The Retailer Reliability Obligation (RRO) came into effect on 1 July 2019. It was designed by the ESB and is an outcome of extensive consultation beginning in October 2017. The RRO will support a reliable energy system by requiring energy retailers and some large energy users to hold contracts or invest directly in generation or demand response to support reliability in the National Electricity Market (NEM).
     

    Integrated System Plan

    At the request of the Council, the ESB developed an Integrated System Plan (ISP) Action Plan which set out twelve recommendations on:

    • how Group 1 projects in the ISP can be delivered as soon as practicable
    • how Group 2 and 3 projects should be progressed; and
    • how the ISP would be converted into an actionable strategic plan.

    The ESB is working with market bodies to  progress these recommendations.  A consultation paper on converting the ISP into action was released in May 2019.

    Post-2025 Market Design for the National Electricity Market

    The Council tasked the ESB with developing advice on a long-term, fit-for-purpose market framework to support reliability that could apply from the mid-2020's.

    By the end of 2020, the ESB needs to recommend any changes to the existing market design or recommend an alternative market design to enable the provision of the full range of services to customers necessary to deliver a secure, reliable and lower emissions electricity system at least-cost.

    Strategic Energy Plan

    The Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market (the Finkel Review) recommended that, by mid-2018, the Council develop and maintain a Strategic Energy Plan for the NEM. The purpose of the Strategic Energy Plan is to ensure a clear strategic focus for the Council’s work and to provide clarity of direction to market bodies and market participants. The Council has tasked the ESB with developing the Strategic Energy Plan.

    Health of the National Electricity Market

    Each year the ESB delivers a Health of the National Electricity Market report to the Council that tracks the performance of the system, the risks it faces, and the opportunities for improvement. The ESB has reported on the health of the NEM annually since December 2017.

    ACCC Recommendations
     

    The ESB was tasked by the Council with providing advice on Recommedations 1, 3, 6, 7, 14 and 41 of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Retailer Electricity Pricing Inquiry - Final Report (June 2018).

    Recent Energy Security Board announcements

    Post 2025 Market Design for the National Electricity Market (NEM)

    Consultation on Draft Metrics for the Strategic Energy Plan -  14 Feb 2019

    Energy Security Board Consultation on ACCC Recommendations 1 and 41 - 14 Feb 2019

    Integrated System Plan - Action Plan - 19 December 2018

    Health of the NEM 2018 - 19 December 2018

    Strategic Energy Plan – metrics for consultation – 12 Nov 2018

    Energy Security Board Consultation on ACCC Recommendation 6 & 7 - 28 Sep 2018

    Energy Security Board Converting the ISP into action - 21 Sep 2018

    National Energy Market Data Strategy Consultation Paper - 20 Mar 2018

    Health of the National Electricity Market Report - 20 Dec 2017

    Report on the National Energy Guarantee - 24 Nov 2017

    National Energy Guarantee modelling – 27 Oct 2017

    Energy Security Board: Ministerial power to make rules – 18 Sept 2017

    Media release: Establishment of the Energy Security Board – 8 Aug 2017