Power and Water performs roles and functions across the Northern Territory electricity systems, including that of Market Operator, System Controller, and our most visible role as the sole Network Service Provider. In some of the more remote regions we still operate as the generator and perform retailer functions.
Many of the services and roles we perform are regulated, either by the local jurisdictional regulator, the Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory, or by national regulators such as the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
Power and Water's roles
The Market Operator and I-NTEM
Power and Water is the Market Operator for the Northern Territory. The function and role of the Market Operator is limited to the electricity grid encompassing Darwin, Katherine, Pine Creek and Adelaide River.
The main function of our role as Market Operator is to manage the wholesale exchange of electricity between licensed retailers and licensed generators, as well as provide daily publications of market prices and information.
The Market Operator functions are regulated by the local regulator, the Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory.
Network Service Provider – transmission and distribution services
Power and Water operates both regulated and unregulated electricity networks, as outlined below.
The term 'regulated network' refers to electricity networks or grids that the Australian Energy Regulator is the economic regulator for. The AER’s role is to promote the efficient investment in and delivery of energy services in the long term interests of consumers. As part of this, it sets network revenue allowances so that energy consumers pay no more than necessary for the safe, secure and reliable delivery of electricity services.
There are three regulated networks in the Northern Territory:
- The first and largest is the northern network. This electrical grid serves approximately 150,000 people and stretches from Darwin to south of Katherine. The northern network includes customers from Batchelor, Adelaide River, Pine Creek, Mataranka and Larrimah.
- The second and smallest of the regulated networks is Tennant Creek. This electrical grid is located in the middle of the Northern Territory and services approximately 7,000 people in and around Tennant Creek.
- The third regulated network is the southern electrical grid, servicing the Alice Springs area, which is home to approximately 28,000 people.
Power and Water also manages and maintains a number of smaller electricity networks, servicing small towns and communities. These areas are not connected to the three regulated electricity networks and are classified as ‘unregulated’ and are not regulated by the AER. These smaller electricity networks are:
- Daly River
- Timber Creek
- Daly Waters
- Newcastle Waters
- Ti Tree
- Kings Canyon
- Nhulunbuy - surrounding rural areas only
- Groote Eylandt - Angurugu and Umbakumba only
- Indigenous communities under the Indigenous Essential Services program.
Under the National Electricity Rules of the Northern Territory, we are required to produce a Distribution Annual Planning Report and a Transmission Annual Planning Report, which we have combined into a single Transmission and Distribution Annual Planning Report.
This report covers a planning period of five years for the distribution network and 10 years for the transmission network.
The report also outlines the results of the annual planning review and presents the most recent annual load forecasts, network constraints, network performance as well as the plans and committed investments by Power and Water to address any issues.
Other information contained in the report include regional development plans, demand management and our approach to asset management.