The Australian Energy Market Operator  (AEMO) has restored the National Electricity Market (NEM) to full operation after a week-long suspension.

AEMO says spot trading can recommence after an improvement in market conditions, after more than 4,000MW of capacity was returned from outages.

However, AEMO warns that conditions remain “dynamic”, including periods of high electricity demand, a large volume of generation going offline for maintenance or unplanned events, as well as some planned transmission outages and high energy commodity prices. 

“Returning to regular operations of the NEM is now possible, as we are currently seeing more normal electricity bidding and dispatching through AEMO’s automated resources, along with reduced electricity shortfalls and fewer manual interventions needed by AEMO,” the regulator said in a statement. 

“AEMO expects conditions to remain dynamic in the short term once the suspension is lifted.”

AEMO suspended price bidding across the entire NEM after finding the electricity spot market had become “impossible to operate”.

Some generators were found to have been withholding large volumes of available generation capacity, creating a threat of load-shedding or wide-scale blackouts.

The regulator appears to have navigated the market volatility without the need to cut power to homes or businesses by taking temporary control. 

Several generators sought to thwart an administrated price cap by withdrawing capacity, which many consider to be a form of market gaming.

Federal energy minister Chris Bowen says he supports the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) in taking action against generators found to be deliberately withholding otherwise available capacity from the market.

“The Regulator is the regulator. They have my 100 per cent support,” Mr Bowen said.

“Consumers come first. The regulator’s job is to ensure that consumers are coming first. The regulator has been very strong in their actions, and they have my 100 per cent support as they do so.

“It’s not for politicians to regulate the law, it’s for the regulators to regulate the law and they have my full support as they do so. I’m in constant contact with the generators, and they know the government’s expectations, but there’s a regulator who is the law of the land.”

The AER has reminded generators of their obligations to provide information to AEMO about how much power they can supply. 

“With the National Electricity Market currently facing considerable challenges, it is essential for participants to provide high quality and timely information to AEMO to ensure it can maintain a safe, secure and reliable power system,” the AER said.