What it does: Delivers energy security to Australians
Staff stats: Under 1000
The good bits: The variety of work
The not so good bits: Siloed organisational structure
The Australian Energy Market Operator story
Following the privatisation frenzy of the 1980s that saw State Governments selling off their electricity and gas generation and transmission facilities, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) came into being on July 1, 2009.
It was the result of the Council of Australian Governments deciding to amalgamate six industry bodies from the electricity and gas markets. Its constituent parts were: the National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO); the Victorian Energy Networks Corporation (VENCorp); the Electricity Supply Industry Planning Council (ESIPC); the Retail Energy Market Company (REMCo); the Gas Market Company (GMC) and the Gas Retail Market Operator.
AEMO took on the functions previously carried out by these organisations. This meant it ended up managing the National Electricity Market (NEM) and both the wholesale and retail electricity markets of the south-eastern section of Australia. It also meant it oversaw the system security of the NEM electricity grid and the Victorian gas transmission network. On top of all that, it became responsible for national transmission planning and establishing the short-term trading market for gas. AEMO operates on a cost recovery basis as a company limited by guarantee. It is split into eight departments, each led by an executive.
In layman’s terms, AEMO is an independent, member-based organisation. One that works in the long-term interests of Australian consumers by ensuring that energy markets operate to balance issues of price, quality, safety, reliability and security of energy supply.
AEMO is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from women and Australians of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent. It embraces the philosophy that “a diverse and inclusive workplace brings out the best in our people and provides a better service to Australian communities”. Its current workforce comes “from over 42 diverse backgrounds and speaks over 60 languages”.
Aside from its core business of keeping the nation’s lights on and fridges running, AEMO seeks to contribute to the communities in which it operates. In 2016, around 20 employees volunteered with AEMO’s official community partner organisations, Vision Australia and the Power of Engineering. AEMO also has an internal sustainability program, which seeks to reduce the organisations impact on the environment.
The recruitment process
AEMO has a Graduate Development Program that runs for three years, which is designed to “empower employees to actively shape their future and build a rewarding career in the energy industry”.
In 2016 the program had 470 applicants. A total of eight graduates offered a spot in the grad program.
If you’re looking to be among the less than two percent of applicants who make it into the program, you’ll need to demonstrate a passion for energy markets. You’ll need to enjoy challenges, display analytical and problem-solving skills, have a customer focus and be an excellent communicator. You will also need to have recently finished, or be about to finish, a degree in commerce, econometrics, economics, engineering (electrical, mechanical or chemical), information systems, information technology, maths or science. You will also need to have achieved a GPA of at least 70 per cent.
The recruitment process starts with an online application, followed by an initial phone screening, participation in assessment centre workshops, and a psychometric assessment and pre-employment checks. If you make it through all those stages, you’ll receive a job offer in September and start the program in February. Depending on business needs, you may have the opportunity to work in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney or Perth.
AEMO’s program involves working on real projects, shouldering real responsibilities and working alongside some of the nation’s top energy experts. You will complete four nine-month rotations and be supported by a buddy, manager and mentor. You’ll work across the organisation and develop a comprehensive understanding of Australia’s energy markets.
AEMO offers “competitive remuneration and benefit packages” as well as relocation assistance. You can also look forward to insurance discounts, having your professional memberships paid for, study assistance, discounted gym memberships and flexible working arrangements.
After you’ve completed the grad program you may be eligible to take part in the Engineers Australia Professional Development Program or Australian Power Industry Bursary Program. AEMO also offers several leadership programs to high achieving employees.
The vibe of the place
AEMO has several active social clubs, a flat organisational structure and an emphasis on teamwork and co-operation. There’s plenty of socialising outside of office hours, though it’s mainly done by younger members of staff. Given the workforce is dispersed across the country it can be difficult to make connections with those who are not part of your team.
Star Rating: 3.9 stars
From the Employer:
"As Australia’s independent energy markets and power systems operator, AEMO provides critical planning, forecasting and power systems information, security advice, and services to our stakeholders. Our vision is to deliver energy security for all Australians.
AEMO operates the:
- National Electricity Market (NEM), the interconnected power system in Australia’s eastern and south-eastern seaboard
- Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) and power system in Western Australia
as well as the:
- Victorian Declared Wholesale Gas Market (DWGM) and the Victorian gas transmission system.
- Wholesale gas Short Term Trading Market hubs in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.
- Retail Gas Markets in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales and Australia Capital Territory.
- Wallumbilla and Moomba Gas Supply Hub in Queensland and South Australia.
- Natural Gas Services Bulletin Board.
- Western Australia Gas Bulletin Board.
AEMO was established to manage the National Electricity Market (NEM) and gas markets from 1 July 2009.
Created by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and developed under the guidance of the Ministerial Council on Energy (now the Standing Council on Energy and Resources), AEMO strengthened the national character of energy market governance by drawing together under the one operational framework responsibility for electricity and gas market functions, NEM system operations, management of Victoria’s gas transmission network, and national transmission planning.
On 1 July 2014, AEMO turned five. To commemorate the milestone, it assembled this animated timeline to reflect on AEMO’s evolution and maturity.
In 2015, AEMO took responsibility as the wholesale and retail market operator in Western Australia, integrating the functions of the Independent Market Operator (IMO), which had been created in 2004. Also in 2015, AEMO took responsibility for the WA Gas Bulletin Board and Gas Statement of Opportunities, which had been established for the Western Australian gas market through the IMO in 2013.
On 1 July 2016, the power system operations function also moved from Western Power to AEMO, establishing AEMO as the independent power system operator for Western Australia."