Primary Frequency Response (PFR)

We’ve prepared this page and will progressively update, as time permits.


A timeline of key developments

In this table, we’ll try to summarise the most significant developments in relation to PFR:

Key Stages Brief discussion

Early Days of the NEM

In the early days of the NEM, generators typically provided primary frequency control as a standard part of connecting to the NEM.

Following the implementation of the FCAS markets

For various reasons (including the incentives in place following the establishment of FCAS markets) generators began disconnecting their governor controls.  For many years this led to the Regulation FCAS services being the only services used to keep system frequency inside its normal operating range.

Kate Summers shared three articles on WattClarity speaking about the challenges that this development had posed – on 23rd March 2017, on 28th August 2018 and 25th October 2019.


Establishing mandatory PFR

On 26th March 2020 the AEMC made a final rule determination to establish a mandatory Primary Frequency Response arrangement in the NEM.


On 6th November 2020, Allan O’Neil wrote ‘What’s PFR and why does it matter anyway?’, and this article might be particularly useful for some readers seeking to understand more.

On 14th May 2021, Paul McArdle shared ‘Observations on differences in system frequency in the Mainland NEM’ – by comparing frequency traces in 2019 and 2021 to show the effect of several initiatives, including Primary Frequency Response.

Moving to a more sustainable arrangement

On 17th December 2020, the AEMC published a Directions Paper on ‘Frequency Control Rule Changes’ that sought to establish an arrangement.

This paper considers two different, but related, measures for frequency support:

1)   Primary Frequency Response (PFR)

2)  Fast Frequency Response (FFR).



Relevant Articles on WattClarity

We’ve established this Category of ‘Primary Frequency Response (PFR)’ into which we will collate articles that specifically pertain to the PFR arrangements.

More generally, we also might tag articles with either: