Injunction granted in relation to electrical contracting in QLD

Injunction granted in relation to electrical contracting in QLD

AU Energy Compliance
On 29 March 2021, Queensland's Electricity Safety Office was granted an injunction in the Southport Magistrates' Court preventing Mr Michael Kelly from doing further electrical contracting and electrical work in Queensland. The Court action followed an investigation by the Electrical Safety Office where it was alleged that Mr. Kelly contracted for and performed electrical work without appropriate licences between 21 March and 19 October 2019. Mr. Kelly is alleged to have used AirTasker to advertise the relevant services. The complaint and summons was issued by Queensland's independent Work Health and Safety Prosecutor in relation to seven alleged contraventions of the Electrical Safety Act 2002. Mr. Kelly was served with the complaint and summons on 9 March 2021. The alleged contraventions included Sections 30/40C, 55, and 56 of the Electrical Safety…
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QLD Large-Scale Energy Storage Trial

QLD Large-Scale Energy Storage Trial

AU Energy Compliance
The Queensland Premier, the Honorable Annastacia Palaszczuk, has announced that five locations across regional Queensland will host a large scale, network connected battery trial aimed at supporting Queensland's uptake of renewable energy. The Premier noted that Queensland is putting solar on homes at world record rates with nearly one in three customers in detached houses now having solar PV. Commenting on the trial, the Premier noted, "Because Queensland has one of the highest levels of rooftop solar uptake in the world, we want to make sure that we're using this important source of renewable energy in the right way and our network is keeping up with demand." The energy storage trial is being conducted by Energy Queensland in five locations across Queensland which are Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Townsville, Yeppoon and…
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The ESC’s Victorian Energy Market Update: March 2021

The ESC’s Victorian Energy Market Update: March 2021

AU Energy Compliance
On 31 March 2021, the Essential Services Commission of Victoria published its Victorian Energy Market Update: March 2021. In the update the Essential Services Commission provides a summary of key events in terms of the energy market and its regulatory activities. Pricing The ESC reviewed energy retail offers published on 30 June 2020 and 31 January 2021 and found that there were substantial reductions in electricity and gas prices during that period. The ESC found that 7% of electricity market offers are market offers with conditional discounts, compared to a year ago where 33% of market offers had conditional discounts. The ESC welcomed this as a sign of ‘simpler and fairer energy contracts for Victorian consumers,’ following new rules, which were introduced from 1 July 2020, that introduced a cap…
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AEMC: Making Room for More Solar and New Energy Tech

AEMC: Making Room for More Solar and New Energy Tech

AU Energy Compliance
On 25 March 2021, the Australian Energy Market Commission released to draft determination that aims to assist with the integration of more small scale-solar and other energy technologies, such as batteries into the electricity grid. Commenting on the draft determination, AEMC Chief Executive Benn Barr said, "Within 10 years, half of all energy users will be using home energy options like solar. We must make sure this seismic shift doesn't leave anyone behind because every Australian, whether they have solar or not, deserves an affordable, sustainable power system." The draft determination aims to address the problem of 'traffic jams' on the electricity network which are occurring now. Those traffic jams are expected (by some) to get worse as more solar is connected to the grid. Blocking power exports because the…
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The AER’s Compliance Priorities 2020-2021 – The AER publishes what penalties retailers have paid

The AER’s Compliance Priorities 2020-2021 – The AER publishes what penalties retailers have paid

AU Energy Compliance
In the mid-year compliance and enforcement update, the AER demonstrated that there has and will be a tighter focus on the compliance of retailers and distributors. Between July and December of 2020, a total of $4.38 million was paid in penalties, of which $3.8 million was paid as a result of court decisions and $580,000 as a consequence of direct infringement notices. Prioritites The AER has clearly stated their enforcement priorities for 2020-2021. These are: Financial difficulties and hardshipLife support equipmentSupporting transition to metering contestabilityEnsuring provision of accurate and timely information to the AER and AEMO Wrongful disconnection for customers facing financial difficulties or hardship The AER reinforced their position that customers in financial difficulty must not be disconnected and must be offered access to affordable payment plans and hardship…
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Penalty for Queensland generator over inability to supply frequency control services

Penalty for Queensland generator over inability to supply frequency control services

AU Energy Compliance
Frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) is used by AEMO to maintain the frequency of the system within tolerances and around 50 cycles per second. FCAS is a mechanism for ensuring balance within the market which can be variable and volatile. FCAS providers are especially important as the uptake of renewable energy within the NEM continues. On 22 February 2021, the AER announced that CS Energy has paid $200,000 in penalties for allegedly failing to ensure that it could provide FCAS that it had already offered to the market. CS Energy has also repaid $1.13 million to AEMO, which it had received as payment to provide the services. In a comment on the incident, AER Chair Clare Savage said: “Inaccurate information about FCAS offers undermines AEMO’s ability to manage frequency deviations…
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Substantial increases in penalties for non-compliance in the energy sector

Substantial increases in penalties for non-compliance in the energy sector

AU Energy Compliance
Summary: As a result of recent reforms discussed below, non-compliant energy businesses in NECF now face penalties of up to 10 percent of their annual turnover or $10,000,000. Consequently, all energy businesses should seriously re-examine their compliance programs and regulatory controls. On 20 March 2020 Energy Ministers in what was then the COAG Energy Council agreed to implement changes to the National Energy Laws (national Electricity Law, National Gas Law, and National Energy Retail Laws) to provide for substantial increases to the civil penalties for non-compliance by energy businesses. The proposed changes were implemented by the Statutes Amendment (National Energy Laws) (Penalties and Enforcement) Act 2020 (Act), which was given Royal Assent on 22 October 2020 and the National Energy Regulations, came into force by Proclamation on 29 Jan 2021. The new penalty…
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Converting Existing Buildings into Embedded Networks

Converting Existing Buildings into Embedded Networks

AU Energy Compliance
Today we are looking at the 'retrofit process' for embedded networks. We focus on the eastern states, other than Victoria - which has its own regulatory framework. Under the National Electricity Rules (NER), any party that engages in an electricity transmission or distribution activity must either be registered with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) as a network service provider (NSP) or operate under an exemption. If that same entity sells electricity then it will also require either a retail exemption or a retail authorisation. We've discussed that distinction in more detail here. A retrofit involves an Embedded Network Operator (ENO) converting an existing building (with separately metered sites) into an embedded network. This results in the building having a single connection point where electricity is purchased in bulk and…
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ASIC’s report on regulatory technology

ASIC’s report on regulatory technology

AU Energy Compliance, Financial Services
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has published a report (Report 685) on ASIC’s Regtech initiatives during 2019-2020. We’ve spoken previously about the benefits of advanced software when it comes to regulatory compliance. Compliance processes are generally complex. They have many moving parts, and the amount of time and money required to enact processes can be high. Compliance management systems such as the Compliance HUB can simplify these processes and save a business both time and money. The ultimate aim of products such as the Compliance HUB is to embed compliance into decision-making. Compliance management software can simplify compliance processes by streamlining and simplifying tasks, eliminating redundancies, and improving efficiency. For example, automation can be used to automate the review and approval of large quantities of documents. This frees…
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Should Your Business Invest in a Compliance Management System?

Should Your Business Invest in a Compliance Management System?

AU Energy Compliance, Financial Services
Businesses around the world face challenges in managing regulatory compliance. Compliance requirements and the regulatory environment are constantly changing and there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution. Companies are constantly faced with a balancing act between the risk of not complying with rules and the cost of having to comply with the rules. Companies are not the only ones that are affected by these challenges. They have a huge impact on the public sector and the general public. When it comes to investment in software, businesses typically start with a customer relationship management system and then sales and marketing software. Traditionally, compliance software is not considered a priority. Many businesses use excel spreadsheets to track their regulatory obligations. And yet, with the potential cost of non-compliance, is that an adequate approach? As…
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