Regulatory sandboxing allows eligible businesses to trial an innovative product or service in Victoria with a temporary waiver from existing rules.
Regulatory sandboxing and trial waivers
Consultation on draft Trial Project Guideline commenced19 April 2022
Consultation on draft Trial Project Guideline ended17 May 2022
Regulatory Sandboxing Framework commenced1 June 2022
Final Trial Project Guideline published29 June 2022
Trial Project Guideline commenced1 July 2022
Victoria’s new regulatory sandboxing framework enabling innovators to trial new products and services in the energy market commenced on 1 June 2022.
New provisions in the Electricity Industry Act 2000, the Gas Industry Act 2001 and the Essential Services Commission Act 2001 provide the commission new powers to grant a time-limited trial waiver to innovators who sell, supply, generate or transmit electricity, or sell or supply gas. This will allow the trialling of innovative technologies, approaches, business models, products and services in the Victorian energy market, in a controlled setting, and help inform whether permanent changes to particular energy rules would benefit Victorian consumers.
Trial waivers operate alongside licences and licence exemptions as a distinct authorisation category that enables entry into Victoria’s energy market.
To support the regulatory sandboxing framework, we have developed a Trial Project Guideline to provide Victoria-specific guidance to innovators on the requirements to operate a project in Victoria. The Trial Project Guideline sets out our proposed approach, information and process requirements that we will consider for trial waiver applications and how decisions on trial waiver applications will be made.
We consulted on our draft decision and draft Trial Project from 19 April to 17 May 2022. We received three submissions, available in the resources tab. Submissions covered a number of topics, including:
- mandatory membership with the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) for all trial waiver holders
- information requirements for dispute resolution
- the timeframe to determine trial waiver applications
- consultation trial waiver applications
- monitoring and reporting
- confidential information
- extension of trial waivers.
Feedback on the national regulatory sandboxing framework
The Australian Energy Regulator consulted with stakeholders on its draft Trial Projects Guidelines to support the development of a national regulatory sandboxing framework. We have had regard to the Australian Energy Regulator’s draft guidelines in developing our guideline and sought to achieve consistency where possible and appropriate.
Energy Innovation Toolkit website and portal
To support a national regulatory sandboxing framework being established in the national energy market, we worked with the Australian Energy Regulator and other project partners on a new website - Energy Innovation Toolkit. The website houses resources such as case studies, market maps and other information to help innovators navigate the regulatory frameworks relevant to their project.
The website includes the Innovation Enquiry Service which provides a centralised hub for innovators to submit enquiries and seek informal feedback specific to their trial project. The website also houses an online trial waiver application portal, which enables innovators to apply for a Victorian trial waiver.
Benefits to consumers and the environment
Our decision on regulatory sandboxing aims to benefit businesses, consumers and the environment. New, innovative technologies can help reduce the costs of providing secure and reliable energy supplies to consumers, as well as contribute to reducing carbon emissions.
Key aspects of trial waivers
In Victoria, trial waivers will operate alongside licences and licence exemptions, as a distinct authorisation. They will authorise a person or entity to undertake any of the activities that normally require an electricity or gas licence pursuant to section 16 of the Electricity Industry Act 2000 and section 22 of the Gas Industry Act 2001.
Applying for a trial waiver
Applying for a trial waiver
Trial Project Guideline
Before applying for a trial waiver, you should read the commission’s Trial Project Guideline which outlines our approach, information and process requirements and how decisions on trial waiver applications will be made.
Supplementary information for trial waiver applications
This document provides general information to assist trial waiver applicants with preparing their application. This document should be read in conjunction with the commission’s Trial Project Guideline.
Trial waiver application information requirements
We have developed a trial waiver application form for innovators to help them understand the information we require for a trial waiver application in Victoria. Applications must be made through the trial waiver portal on the Energy Innovation Toolkit website.
Lodging your enquiry or trial waiver application
If you are ready to submit an enquiry or apply for a Victorian trial waiver, visit the Energy Innovation Toolkit website and follow the prompts to access the Innovation Enquiry Service and the Victorian trial waiver portal.
You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries about the commission’s new regulatory sandbox and trial waiver powers.
Register of trial waivers
There are currently no approved trial waivers in Victoria.