Power of Choice – review by AEMC of DR

All community is affected by the rising cost of energy. Something can be done, and the “Power of Choice” review being run by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) and a Senate Select Committee on Electricity Prices Inquiry is underway. Both these essential bodies need to be influenced and informed about how essential the implementation of and effective Demand Response (DR) is in the National Electricity Market (NEM) in saving $billions, and continuous saving thereafter.

Over the last 11 years there have been a number of Reviews that have made clear recommendations[1] that Demand Response (DR) should be implemented in our electricity markets.  Unfortunately, all these recommendations for implementation of DR have been ignored, with the exception of DR for Reserve Capacity in Western Australia’s Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) which works very well.  In hindsight, the lack of an effective DR mechanism in the NEM in particular has cost electricity users an estimated Present Value (PV) of $15.8 Billion[2] (this is in the order of a 9% impost on their annual electricity bills).  Worse still this loss to the community is continuing to grow.

The “Power of Choice” Review is an unfinished work, and CO2Land org has experience in the material of Demand Response (DR). DR is most effective as a formal aggregation of small amounts of demand reduction from a larger electricity users who are contracted to reduce this pre-agreed amount of their demand at times when their are extreme wholesale prices, extreme peaks in demand or in emergencies.  It is much cheaper way to address these short term events than our current outdated approach of spending billions of dollars on more generators and networks which are only needed for a total of about 40 hours per year.

In the push for acceptance of DR becoming a part of the National Electricity Market (NEM) an article was written in the Daily Telegraph, 5 Sept 2012,  (link: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/power-shift-to-cut-household-bills/story-e6freuy9-1226465075377) after it was relayed some of the source contributions were gleaned from an EnerNOC sponsored report recently completed by CME.

CO2Land org and those mentioned in this post accept we look forward and hope the AEMC is now convinced that DR is essential to minimize further price rises.

If you are confused with the terminology, hopefully the following will help you better understand: The energy market has three components that affect the price we pay: Price response (PR), Demand Response (DR) and the Emergency response (ER).  Price is largely inelastic, and as we are experiencing alternative energy sources we notice the costs have similar or more Price effects to introduce them. Demand Response (DR) is the most volatile price driver in the market where smaller splices of time require a greater build and increase capital required for infrastructure projects (pole and wires builds and maintenance needs to cater for the demand growth). Emergency Response (ER) is an energy security problem and is reactionary to large events with little warning.

References to support this view are:


  • Alan Fels, Chair of ACCC, speaking at the Inaugural EUAA Conference on 19 November 2001
  • The Parer Review 2002 “Towards A Truly National And Efficient Energy Market”
  • The EUAA April 2004 “Trial of a Demand Side Response Facility for the National Electricity Market”
  • The ERIG Review November 2006 “Review of Energy Related Financial Markets”
  • Stages 1 & 2 of the Demand Side Participation Review (Stage 3 still in progress)