Just as Victoria operates a distinct regulatory framework for retail licensing from the rest of the National Electricity Market, so too does Victoria operate a distinct framework for retail and network exemptions. Last year we discussed the new Victorian General Exemption Order setting out the latest rules in Victoria for embedded network exemptions, including price regulation (https://www.compliancequarter.com.au/embedded-network-operators-take-note-new-general-exemption-order-victoria/).
By Dr Drew Donnelly, Regulatory Specialist, Compliance Quarter.
On 17 May, the Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC) released a Registration Guideline setting out further requirements for entities seeking exemptions in Victoria. Note, entities that are required to register, should register immediately (by 31 May 2018). Today we discuss the registration requirements in the guideline, including ways in which these requirements differ from requirements in other states.
The Registration Guideline
The Registration Guideline sets out the requirements for registration for ‘exempt persons’ who sell, supply, distribute or engage in multiple activities (such as Solar Power Purchase Agreement Providers), without a licence. Not all exempt activities require registration. However, registration is required where there are:
- 10 or more small commercial/retail customers within the limits of a site that they own, occupy or operate (for example, a shopping centre);
- 10 or more residential customers within the limits of a site they own, occupy or operate (for example, an apartment building);
- residential customers in retirement villages;
- anyone in caravan parks, holiday parks, residential land lease parks, and manufactured home estates;
- large customers.
This is similar to the services that must register exemptions under the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER’s) network exemption and retail on-selling Guidelines.
Details to be provided in Registration
Through registration, the ESC requires and publishes a range of information, similar to the information requirements imposed by the AER for registering network and retail exemptions. These include:
- the legal name of the exempt person;
- the type of activity being carried out;
- the date from which the registration commenced (this will be the date on which the registration is published by the commission);
- whether the registration is current;
- the ABN of the exempt person;
- the exempt person’s trading name;
- the exempt person’s customer contact details (or the customer contact details of the third-party service provider or agent);
- the site name where the supply or sale activity is taking place, for example, the name of the apartment building, caravan park or shopping centre (where relevant);
- the site address where the activity is being carried out (where relevant);
- information to ensure that the activity being undertaken does not require an electricity licence;
- the number of customers that are being supplied or sold electricity.
In addition, there are some extra requirements in this Guideline that are not contained in the AER guidelines such as:
- the requirement to provide an estimate of the aggregate (total) yearly electricity consumption at a site in megawatt hours (MWh);
- the requirement to provide details (such as trading name and customer contact details) of third parties that provide services on behalf of an exempt person. This occurs, for example, when an exempt person contracts with a third party to provide billing and administration services for embedded network customers.
If you would like support for regulatory compliance in embedded networks in Victoria, please get in contact with us.
 This can be contrasted with the approach in the other National Energy Market jurisdictions where the AER produces separate guidelines for retail and network exemptions.