The Essential Services Commission’s (ESC) general regulatory powers are set out in the Essential Services Commission Act 2001 and are applied to the Victorian electricity industry by the Electricity Industry Act 2000. This Act sets out the Commission’s powers in respect to licensing and service regulation.
Our objective under the Essential Services Commission Act 2001 is to promote the long term interests of Victorian customers with regard to the price, quality and reliability of essential services.
In working to achieve our objective, the ESC, where relevant, must have regard to:
- efficiency in regulated industries and incentives for long-term investment
- the financial viability of regulated industries
- existing and potential competition within the industry
- the relevant health, safety, environmental and social legislation applying to the regulated industry
- the benefits and costs of regulation for customers (including low income or vulnerable customers) and regulated entities
- consistency in regulation between States and on a national basis.
The ESC also has objectives under the Electricity Industry Act 2000:
- to promote a consistent regulatory approach between the electricity industry and the gas industry, to the extent that it is efficient and practicable to do so
- to promote the development of full retail competition.
The ESC also has regulatory responsibilities prescribed by the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 1997 and the National Electricity Code, which establish the National Electricity Market in Victoria.
In addition to complying with the requirements of Victorian licences, codes and guidelines, electricity companies must also comply with the National Electricity Law and Rules..
Each licensee is required to comply with all other applicable laws, including the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), the Fair Trading Act 1999, and the industry provisions of the Corporations Law.
The Essential Services Commission is the independent regulator of the retail energy industry in Victoria.
Our role is to oversee compliance and performance reporting by energy businesses, and issue energy distribution and retail licenses. We also provide information to customers about the evolving energy markets, and the choices they have.
The Commission is the economic regulator of the Victorian water sector.
The sector is comprised of 19 water businesses providing bulk and retail water and waste water services to all of Victoria’s urban and rural irrigation customers. Our role encompasses regulation of prices as well as monitoring of service standards and market conduct.
The Essential Services Commission has a role in undertaking reviews, investigations, assessments and approvals in relation to various transport matters, as requested by relevant Victorian Ministers under industry specific legislation.
The Essential Services Commission received a terms of reference (TOR) from the Minister for Finance (in consultation with the Minister for Local Government) to conduct a review and report on a local government rates capping framework.
In addition to its regulatory roles in the electricity, gas, ports and rail industries, the Essential Services Commission is also responsible for reporting on the performance of the Victorian Domestic Building Insurance scheme. The Commission may also be asked to undertake reviews of other sectors.