The Commission was responsible for overseeing the operation of the electricity system, and the wholesale and retail markets. The Commission carried out this work by contracting and managing external service providers.

Ensuring compliance with Regulations and Rules

The Commission was responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the EGRs, including operation of the wholesale markets (spot and hedge), and the Electricity Governance (Connection of Distributed Generation) Regulations 2007, and the Electricity (Low Fixed Charge Tariff Option for Domestic Consumers) Regulations 2004.

The Commission's Market Governance workstream carried out much of this work. An independent Rulings Panel determined complaints and certain disputes.

Regulatory development

The Commission's aims were to facilitate greater understanding of and, thereby, improved compliance with the EGRs, and to identify areas within these that may need to be changed. The Commission advised the Minister of Energy and Resources on statutory Regulations and Rules to ensure that the wholesale and retail markets operate efficiently and fairly.

Regulatory development work was carried out across the Commission's workstreams. An example is the development of rules to enable more demand-side participation in the wholesale market. Regulatory development often drew on the expertise of advisory groups established by the Commission which comprised industry, consumer and independent representatives.

Information provision

The Commission collected and published information to guide investment in transmission and transmission alternatives in the form of the Statement of Opportunities. Other information provision included the centralised dataset, wholesale and retail market statistics and reports, and reports submitted to the Commission by the System Operator.

The Commission also developed arrangements for voluntary information publication by the industry such as hydro-spill data.

Transmission investment decision-making

Transpower is responsible for planning the development of the grid and proposing grid upgrade plans.

The Commission had statutory responsibility for decision-making on grid investment proposals from Transpower. This function is now the responsibility of the Commerce Commission.

Security of supply governance

The Commission was required to use reasonable endeavours to ensure adequate security of supply while minimising distortions to the ordinary operation of the electricity market.

The Commission worked with the electricity industry to ensure security of supply. It collected and published data on security of supply status and contracts for reserve energy (energy procured by the Commission to increase security of supply) if required. The Commission also managed any security of supply emergencies (for example, emergency conservation campaigns). The future need for reserve energy was reviewed at least annually. Some of the security of supply functions are now the responsibility of the System Operator.

Electricity efficiency

The Commission had powers to promote and facilitate cost-effective electricity savings. Cost-effectiveness in this context means that savings are expected to be delivered at an average cost (over the life of the investment) that is significantly less than the cost of investing in equivalent new generating capacity. The Commission ran a number of programmes to facilitate electricity efficiency. This function is now the responsibility of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.