About electricity distribution

Once electricity has been generated, it is transported over long distances to homes and businesses through a network of interconnected high-voltage lines called a transmission network. It is then carried by another network of low-voltage lines to customers. Some large industrial users get their electricity delivered directly at higher voltages.

Maintaining and improving these networks to ensure that electricity demand can be met safely, reliably and efficiently requires significant expenditure.

Queensland’s networks

The Queensland transmission and distribution networks provide more than 2 million customers with this essential service. Together, they form part of the National Electricity Market (NEM), which operates in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Queensland’s transmission network

In Queensland, the transmission network is owned and operated solely by government-owned Powerlink Qld, and is­­ one of five transmission networks in the NEM. They are interconnected and operate across borders, allowing electricity to flow between states.

Queensland’s distribution network

In Queensland there are three distribution networks.  The two largest are run by two Queensland government-owned corporations, Energex (south east Queensland) and Ergon Energy (rural and regional Queensland).  Essential Energy also operates in the Goondiwindi region near the Queensland–New South Wales border. Each distributor is a monopolist in its region.

Network regulators

The Australian Energy Regulator is responsible for regulating distribution and transmission network service providers, including how much revenue they are allowed to earn and the prices they can charge to recover that revenue.

Our network regulatory role relates to administering and enforcing the Electricity Distribution Network Code, which governs standards for reliability and quality of service for networks and the relationship between distributors and retailers.

Service quality

Distributors are required to meet guaranteed service levels (GSLs). GSL payments made to residential and small business electricity customers acknowledge the inconvenience customers experience when a distributor does not meet a GSL. The GSL scheme is set out in the Electricity Distribution Network Code and the QCA reviews the scheme every five years. Distributors must report every quarter on any payments made to customers for failing to meet GSLs.