In Victoria, AEMO operates the Declared Transmission System (DTS) and plays a pivotal role in the management of, response to, and recovery from gas emergencies. The Gas Emergency Protocol consists of a high level set of documents that outline the actions AEMO may take in an emergency:
- Emergency Procedures (Gas)
- Wholesale System Security Procedures
- Gas Curtailment and Gas Rationing and Recovery Guidelines
Levels of emergencies
Gas emergencies are classified into five levels based on industry agreed descriptions of an emergency:
- Level one – site-based emergency: these emergencies are managed at an operational level without requiring additional assistance. Level one emergencies do not pose a risk to the environment or personnel, and have minimal public impact.
- Level two – operational response, single industry participant: these emergencies may result in a minor loss of supply, and may have a minor impact on personnel or the environment.
- Level three – operational and management response, single industry participant: emergencies of this type could involve substantial risk of serious injury or death, and may have a serious impact on the environment, or result in a serious loss of supply.
- Level four – impacts multiple industry participants: level four emergencies occur when the impacts of an emergency are beyond a single distribution or transmission company.
- Level five – system-wide threat, public safety issue, or emergency power invoked by Energy Safe Victoria or the Governor in Council: in instances where AEMO, Energy Safe Victoria, or the Victorian Government believe a gas emergency is likely to occur for a substantial period of time, involve resources beyond the supply capacity of industry, or have a widespread impact on the community, then a level five emergency will be declared under the Gas Industry Act 2001.
Gas industry emergency management structures
Energy Industry Response Committee
The Energy Industry Response Committee (EIRC) is chaired by the Executive Director Energy and Security, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR). It vets the operational strategy and possible use of emergency powers, as well as providing strategic advice to government on the impacts of and response to a gas Level 5 emergency.
Gas Emergency Management Group
The purpose of the Gas Emergency Management Group (GEMG) is to co-ordinate and plan the gas industry’s response to and recovery from an extended gas emergency, normally at Level 5. The GEMG will provide the principal consultation path between the Government and the gas industry during a gas emergency.
Gas Emergency Management Consultative Forum
The Gas Emergency Management Consultative Forum (GEMCF) is a planning and coordinating forum of industry representatives convened by Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) and AEMO. The GEMCF considers issues relating to the effective management of emergencies in Victoria.
The GEMCF has no operational role during the response to and recovery from a declared emergency. It reports its activities to the Director of Energy Safety, ESV, the Chief Executive Officer of AEMO, and the CEOs of registered participants (or their representatives).
Communications during an emergency
Victorian Energy Emergency Communications Protocol
The Victorian Energy Emergency Communications Protocol (VEECP) has been developed by AEMO and Victorian gas and electricity industry stakeholders to ensure timely and accurate advice and information is disseminated in a coordinated manner during a gas emergency. The VEECP does not operate in isolation, but rather complements existing AEMO, industry, and government emergency policies and procedures.
Single Industry Spokesperson (SIS)
The SIS ensures consistent messages to the public during a Level 5 gas emergency. The SIS is an agreement made between government and industry whereby AEMO will speak on behalf of the Victorian gas supply industry during widespread and prolonged gas shortages in Victoria.