Energy emergencies

ACT households and businesses enjoy some of the most reliable electricity and gas supplies in Australia. Interruptions are rare and usually of a short duration for maintenance of network infrastructure. Energy suppliers must inform customers of planned interruptions.

Significant unplanned interruptions to supply, while exceedingly rare, can result from unanticipated or unpredictable events. They can be local or national (such as a major natural disaster damaging energy supply infrastructure). They can also include significant spikes in demand that exceed supply, such as when we have unusually high or low temperatures.

Electricity supply emergencies

The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) advises the ACT Government on potential or actual interruption of electricity supply, including the need for restrictions. EPSDD also coordinates with electricity utilities to manage adverse impacts. If an interruption is linked to the national energy market, EPSDD advises the Government by coordinating with other jurisdictions and national energy market bodies to minimise disruptions.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) operates the National Electricity Market and national electricity grid. One of AEMO’s responsibilities is to ensure our power system is reliable and secure. This includes working with other jurisdictions on emergency response protocols. During a major power system emergency, AEMO provides leadership and makes decisions that make sure industry participants are cooperating and coordinating with other jurisdictions.

Gas supply emergencies

The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) advises the ACT Government on potential or actual interruptions of gas supply, including any need for restrictions. It also coordinates with gas utilities to manage adverse impacts.

EPSDD also advises on the Government’s participation on the National Gas Emergency Response Advisory Committee. The Committee, established in May 2005, maintains the integrity of the gas supply system during shortages affecting two or more jurisdictions. It has representatives from all governments across Australia, as well as gas industry and users. It’s responsible for:

  • ensuring that natural gas supply interruptions are managed consistently across the nation
  • advising on efficient and effective management responses, including use of emergency powers by jurisdictions, during major natural gas supply shortages
  • assessing risk and impacts of major natural gas supply shortage.

More information: National Gas Emergency Response Advisory Committee

Liquid Fuel supply emergencies

The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) advises the ACT Government on potential or actual interruptions of liquid fuel supply, including any need for restrictions. Liquid fuels relevant to this section include: unleaded transport fuel, diesel, E10 (ethanol blended unleaded fuel) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It also coordinates with liquid fuel suppliers and retailers to manage adverse impacts.

EPSDD also advises on the Government’s participation on the National Oil Supplies Emergency Committee (NOSEC). NOSEC provides advice to the COAG Energy Council on fuel supply and the management of a national liquid fuel emergency. NOSEC was established in 2001 and is guided by the terms of reference for the COAG Energy Council, formal Agreements between the Australian Government and State/Territory governments on the Management of a Liquid Fuel Emergency, the National Liquid Fuel Emergency Response Plan and the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act 1984 and Guidelines.

In order to keep liquid fuel emergency response procedures up to date and minimise disruptions, EPSDD maintains a register of the fuel supply chain in the ACT. The information for the register is complied via an annual survey of fuel station owners and operators. The template for survey responses is available here.