The Victorian Government has made changes 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). Exempt persons include many entities that sell or supply electricity to customers in embedded networks including apartment buildings, caravan parks, retirement villages and shopping centres.
This licence exemption framework also covers certain solar power purchase agreement providers and community energy projects that are limited to a single site.
The government’s changes mean 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 a licence exemption, it’s important that you understand and meet these new and updated requirements.
Establishment of an exemption register
Under the changes to the General Exemption Order, the commission has established a new register for exempt persons. Many exempt persons who sell or supply electricity will need to register with the commission and provide details of their activities.
Read about the licensing exemption categories and who needs to register.
Defined customer protections
If you are an exempt electricity seller or supplier, you will need to meet certain conditions and comply with specific obligations for the exemption to apply. These obligations include complying with the 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 persons.
The Energy Retail Code currently does not specify which provisions are applicable to exempt providers.
We have now started a process to determine which provisions in the codes will apply to each exemption category. This has included initial consultation with industry peak bodies and consumer groups. We will soon be consulting publicly with our draft decision outlining the provisions we propose to include.
Membership of a dispute resolution scheme by 1 July 2018
From 1 July 2018, if you are an exempt person with a retail or network activity exemption, you will need to become a member of an approved dispute resolution body. The Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) has been approved as the dispute resolution body for exempt persons.
Note, this does not apply to solar power purchase agreement providers, community energy projects or generators that are exempt under the General Exemption Order.
Find out more about the ombudsman’s application and our decision relating to this application.
Information for customers of exempt sellers and suppliers of electricity
If you are a retail tenant in a shopping centre or a resident of an apartment block, retirement village, caravan park or similar, it is likely that the supplier and seller of your electricity is exempt from holding an electricity retail or distribution licence.