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General Issue

Algorithmic Collusion and Australian Competition Law: Trouble Ahead for the National Electricity Market?

Author

Jeremy D Chan

This article explores the interaction between the National Electricity Law and potential algorithmic collusion in the National Electricity Market (‘NEM’). Reviewing the current state of Australian competition law, this article concludes that the law does not prohibit algorithmic collusion in the NEM, even though such collusion has serious ramifications for Australian consumers. Despite recent hesitancy to addressing algorithmic collusion, this article argues we cannot afford to ‘wait and see’ and proposes nuanced solutions that appropriately address algorithmic collusion in the NEM. These solutions include a notification regime, a reduction in bidding transparency, and a novel definition to ‘concerted practice’ that would ensure competition law captures tacit and autonomous algorithmic collusion. More generally, the approach in this article highlights the need for market-specific analysis of algorithmic collusion, particularly as the competitive impact of using algorithmic technology depends on the circumstances in which the algorithm is deployed.

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