How Western Power is regulated
As the sole owner and operator of the electricity network in the south-west of Western Australia, Western Power is a natural monopoly delivering an essential service.
Western Power is regulated by an independent body of State Government, the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA), to ensure that an efficient service is delivered at a fair price. Other bodies such as the Public Utilities Office, EnergySafety and the Independent Market Operator regulate Western Power across other aspects of the business of transporting electricity.
Western Power’s operations are guided by regulations, codes and legislation. Operational aspects impacted range,from performance targets and how much money can be earned, to the proper disposal of waste and the safety of employees and the public.
- Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) - an independent body, reporting directly to State Parliament. The primary review functions performed by the ERA include the access arrangement and Western Power’s technical licenses
- Public Utilities Office - this body sets the guiding rules for the ERA and sets overall energy policy for the State
- EnergySafety - part of the Department of Consumer Protection. Energy Safety licenses electrical contractors and sets technical guidelines for the electricity network in relation to safety
- Independent Market Operator (IMO) - controls the supply and trading of energy and electricity capacity in WA's Wholesale Electricity Market
- Other bodies such as the Environmental Protection Authority and WorkSafe set guidelines, which determine how Western Power goes about its day-to-day work
Regulations codes and legislation
The main regulations and codes governing Western Power’s activities include: the Electricity Corporations Act 2005, the Code of Conduct for the Supply of Electricity to Small Use Customers, the Wholesale Electricity Market Rules, the Electricity Networks Access Code 2004 and the Electricity Industry (Code of Conduct) Regulations 2005.
The Wholesale Electricity Market
WA's Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) was introduced in 2006 as part of the State Government's progressive deregulation of the electricity market.
Electricity retailers buy power from electricity generators and pay Western Power a fee for transporting that electricity through their network. The WEM controls the supply and trading of wholesale electricity between retailers and generators.
It is managed by the Independent Market Operator (IMO), a corporate body which is also responsible for making sure enough electricity is being generated to meet demand, hour by hour.
The IMO operates in accordance with the Wholesale Electricity Market Rules.