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 license (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 license 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 license 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 will establish a new registration process for many types of exempt activities. The register will be established in early 2018 and any one required to register will need to do so by 1 April 2018. The register will be published and will include some details regarding the licence exemption.
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. We are in discussions with the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) about an application for them to become the approved providers of the dispute resolution scheme. Once we receive an application we will consult publically, seeking submissions on the application from interested parties.
Register to stay in touch
You can register to stay in touch with commission updates on this process including establishment of new register and consultation on the provision in the energy retail and electricity distribution codes.