AER issues Infringement Notice to CS Energy relating to long-term operating Callide C without an exemption … including on 24th May 2021

On 25th May 2021, the Callide C4 Catastrophe commenced with the massive explosion onsite … and is still ongoing, with:

1)  The unit still months away from return to service:

(a)  As I’ve noted before, this might be ‘longest outage in the history of the NEM?’ … a statement which has been referenced in some media reports since.

(b)  At least no further significant change in return-to-service expectations since the update at the end of May 2023; and

2)  Also no news on the release of the Dr Sean Brady’s report into the cause of the initial explosion.

So it was of interest today to see AER releasing these notes about CS Energy paying a fine for ‘allegedly operating a generating system without regulatory approval’:

On the AER website The infringement notice
from the AER

The AER website here contains the notice:


… or you can link directly to the 3-page Enforcement Notice here:



The AER’s Media Release ‘CS Energy fined for allegedly operating a generating system without regulatory approval’ is also there to read.


(A)  Other reading

Also worth noting:

1)  That CS Energy issued a Media Release titled ‘CS Energy committed to market compliance’, which provides this background:

‘CS Energy owns Callide C in a joint venture (JV) with IG Power and operates Callide C on behalf of the JV.

Callide Power Trading (CPT) is the registered market participant for Callide C and trades the output of the Callide C generating units in the market on behalf of the JV.

Generating units cannot have more than one Registered Participant, CS Energy (as the operator of Callide C) was required to hold an exemption from registration.’

2)  and that Giles Parkinson wrote today Callide coal generator was being operated without approval when it blew up in 2021 .

3)  Probably elsewhere as well … or at least to come?


(B)  Avoiding misunderstanding

Having only just published yesterday ‘Not so fast … the Bouldercombe Battery is not yet back into service, after the fire’ to (hopefully) correct some misunderstandings an earlier article from me might have helped cause, it’s probably worth me noting that this confluence of events might also lead to misunderstandings.


1)  I’ve not checked, but it might be the case that this lack of an exemption might date all the way back to when the units were first built and commissioned (i.e. 2001):

(a)  There has been some reshuffles of assets in Queensland Government Gencos since that time …

(b)  … but my recollection is that Callide B and (50% of) Callide C has always been in a CS Energy portfolio

(c)  Readers might feel free to correct me (in a comment below) if I am incorrect on this one

2)  The AER note about the lack of an exemption as at 24th May 2021 … with that date named merely because that’s the date that arose as part of the investigations of the explosion the following day.

3)  Unfortunately it might be the case that readers (here, or elsewhere) might mistakenly conflate the two things (i.e. not holding an exemption on 24th May 2021 and the explosion on 25th May 2021).

4)  But (from the outside looking in) I can’t see any reason why those two would have a causal relationship, rather than just being coincidental.

5)  My sense is that this (i.e. the unrelatedness) is why the fine is so low, in comparison with the cost of the 25th May 2021 incident.



About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

2 Comments on "AER issues Infringement Notice to CS Energy relating to long-term operating Callide C without an exemption … including on 24th May 2021"

  1. What did Stanwell get fined for the setting for going into Islanding mode that made the recovery from this event much shorter, let alone if the state did indeed get sent black, having it still operable would have been much faster than the old AVON GT at Tarong whining into action or WIVENHOE running out of water due to some failed attempt to start from black again. Still don’t see why CSEnergy continue to get such favorable treatment.

  2. What was the last official word for C3 RTS?

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