A major shift in management will see Western Australian utilities managed by an independent operator.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has been asked to undertake the role of independent energy market operator and independent power system operator in Western Australia (WA). 

The announcement was made by WA Treasurer and Energy Minister Dr. Mike Nahan, which will see the transfer of electricity system management and the operation of the wholesale electricity market in the South West of Western Australia to the AEMO. 

Other functions, previously under the WA Independent Market Operator, including the administration of the Gas Bulletin Board and Gas Statement of Opportunities, will also be transferred to AEMO.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) has welcomed the announcement. APPEA Chief Operating Officer Western Region, Stedman Ellis, said the oil and gas industry has long supported a consistent national approach to the presentation of gas market information.

“At a time when governments and industry are focused on less duplication and red tape, it is pleasing to see the WA Government recognise the benefits of an integrated national approach to administration of the Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) and Gas Bulletin Board,” Mr Ellis said.

“The announcement delivers a more streamlined means of providing market transparency and should lower costs for industry and consumers by utilising AEMO’s existing IT and operating systems.

“This means greater consistency of market systems and processes between Western Australia and other jurisdictions.

“APPEA appreciates the contribution of the WA Independent Market Operator and looks forward to working with AEMO for a seamless transfer and ongoing operations.”

Western Power has also welcomed the changes, with Chief Executive Officer, Paul Italiano, saying the move would increase back-up options for running WA’s isolated market and enhance security of electricity supplies in the State.

Mr Italiano said the move was a positive step that would provide greater security for electricity users in the State, and that Western Power had already begun preparations for the new regime, which will see Western Power’s System Management function merged with the new market operator.

“AEMO brings a wealth of system and market operation experience, enabling the best of both local and national skills to be harnessed for WA’s evolving electricity market,” Mr Italiano said.

“Western Power has already held positive discussions with AEMO and the control centre for the South West Interconnected System will remain in Western Australia.”

“We have also had a preliminary conversation about establishing the centre as a possible back-up site for the National Electricity Market, which is a significant vote of confidence in Western Power’s existing System Management team.”

“Similarly, existing AEMO control centres in Sydney and Brisbane may be equipped to provide emergency back-up for the Western Australian market, providing greater levels of security for electricity users in this State and Australia.”

Mr Italiano said he looked forward to working with AEMO in coming months to establish exact details of the move of Western Power’s System Management functions to AEMO, after AEMO had consolidated its move to assume control of WA’s Independent Market Operator.

View more information on the new management system.

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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