Generators, distributors and retailers all play separate parts in the delivery of electricity or gas to a building. Customers are also required to do certain things to ensure the energy supply system works efficiently.
How electricity and gas supplies reach customers
Generators produce electricity from coal and other sources like the sun or wind. We have a role in licensing generators.
We also set the minimum feed-in tariff that your electricity provider must pay you if you generate electricity using small scale renewable technology like solar panels and sell it to the grid.
Electricity and gas supply
Distributors own the poles, wires, pipes and meters that deliver electricity and gas to you. They are responsible for fixing faults including gas leaks and power outages. Distributors are separate to retailers. Find out who your gas and electricity distributor is on the Victorian Government’s ‘energy’ website. We set some rules for distributors via the electricity distribution and gas system distribution codes.
When you sign up with an energy retailer you also automatically enter a deemed distribution contract with your distributor. The contracts outline the obligations your distributor has with you as well as a number of obligations that you have with you distributor. These include obligations for distributors to:
- operate the network to certain levels of quality of supply and reliability
- provide service to customers at set standards (known as ‘guaranteed service levels)
- provide notice of planned interruptions to supply and information about unplanned interruptions
- provide information about the customer’s energy consumption or their charges
- take steps to protect customers who require life support equipment
- respond to complaints about energy supply.
Obligations for customers include:
- providing information the distributor needs, including where the customer requires life support equipment
- giving the distributor safe and unhindered access to premises so they can perform works required for the supply of energy
- installing and maintaining the electrical equipment and devices in their home according to Australian standards and laws
- not exceeding their demand for electricity above certain levels, and
- acknowledging that the energy rules allow a distributor to interrupt the supply of electricity to their home in certain situations including for planned maintenance, repair or in an emergency.
Recently approved changes to deemed distribution codes also include obligations for customers to notify your distributor if you want to increase the capacity of your solar system (or other embedded generator) or install a battery.
Electricity and gas offers and bills
Retailers buy electricity and gas from generators and sell it to you. You can choose your energy retailer based on the price and service that best suits you. If you decide to change retailer, you will still have the same distributor. Changing retailer will not affect the reliability or the quality of your supply. We license and set rules for energy retailers via the energy retail code.
The code outlines the rules that retailers need to follow when they sell you energy. This includes:
- assistance if you have difficulty paying your energy bills
- estimated gas and electricity bills
- wrongful disconnections.