On the 14 November 2017 the Victorian Government announced an update to the General Exemption Order . This is the regulatory framework that covers the requirements for generators, suppliers, distributors and sellers of electricity that are exempt from holding a licence (known as exempt persons). These exempt persons include apartment owners’ corporations, owners and operators of caravan parks, retirement homes and shopping centres, as well as the companies who provide them with electricity related services such as managing the electricity network within their site, meter reading and billing.
This licence exemption framework also covers solar power purchase agreements and community energy projects that are limited to a single site.
The update means there are now new and updated requirements for anyone who is eligible for an electricity licence exemption. If you believe you may fit the criteria for holding a license exemption it’s important that you understand these new and updated requirements.
Establishment of a new exemption register
Under the changes to the General Exemption Order, the commission is establishing a new register for exempt activities. Many exempt electricity generators, suppliers, distributors and sellers will need to provide the details of their activities on the register. You can read about the licensing exemption categories and who needs to register. Anyone that fits within the registration exemption categories will need to register by 1 April 2018.
Defined consumer protections
If you are an exempt electricity provider, you will need to meet certain conditions and comply with specific obligations for the exemption to apply. These obligations include relevant provisions of the energy retail and electricity distribution codes.
Clause 1.3.5 of the Electricity Distribution Code already specifies the provisions that apply to exempt providers.
The Energy Retail Code currently does not specify which provisions are applicable to exempt providers.
In early 2018, we will consult on the provisions of the codes that will apply to each exemption category. We will then publish a final decision outlining the obligations for exempt electricity providers and the consumer protections for consumers supplied with electricity from exempt providers.
Membership of a dispute resolution scheme by 1 July 2018
From 1 July 2018, if you are an exempt distributor or seller you will need to become a member of an approved dispute resolution body. The Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) has submitted an application to extend their role to cover exempt electricity suppliers. You can now view the ombudsman’s application and provide feedback.