Victorian energy retailers must surrender Victorian energy efficiency certificates (VEECs) under the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program.
Energy retailers in the VEU program
Victorian energy retailers with a liability under the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program are known as relevant entities. This applies if they:
- sell either electricity or gas, or both electricity and gas, to customers
- make a scheme acquisition* in connection with the sale of either electricity or gas or the sale of both electricity and gas, to those customers
- have 5000 or more customers to who either electricity or gas is, or both electricity and gas are, sold to in Victoria
- make a program acquisition of 30,000 MWh or more of electricity
- make a program acquisition of 350,000 GJ or more of gas.
*'Scheme acquisition' is defined in the VEET Act as the purchase on-sale to prescribed customers in Victoria of electricity and/or gas from the Australian Energy Market Operator and/or gas from a producer, storage provider interconnected pipeline operator.
The role of energy retailers
Energy retailers with a liability under the program are required to surrender a certain number of Victorian energy efficiency certificates (VEECs) each year. The number of certificates they must surrender represents a portion of the program’s overall annual target and is a function of the share of the energy market that the energy retailer held in that year.
These energy retailers must make their annual VEEC surrenders between 1 January and 30 April of the year following the year for which the liability is held.
Energy retailers that fail to surrender a sufficient number of certificates must pay a shortfall penalty per certificate they fall short by. The shortfall penalty rate for the 2020 compliance year is $50.83 per certificate.
They must hold a VEU account in order to manage their certificate holdings in the VEU registry.
The greenhouse gas reduction rate establishes the rate of liability of an energy retailer, and the number of certificates it is required to surrender each year. The Act provides for the setting of a greenhouse gas reduction rate for electricity and a greenhouse gas reduction rate for gas.
To determine its liabilities each year, energy retailers must:
- determine their liability for their electricity acquisition by multiplying their total liable electricity acquisition (amount of electricity in MWh acquired under program acquisitions in the year) for the year by the reduction rate for electricity
- determine their liability for their gas acquisition by multiplying their total liable gas acquisition (amount of gas in gigajoule acquired under program acquisitions in the year) for the year by the reduction rate for gas.
An energy retailer's liability for the year will be the sum of their electricity liability and their gas liability and their gas liability for the year.
For the 2020 compliance year (1 January to 31 December 2020) the reduction rate for electricity is 0.17255 and the reduction rate for gas is 0.00870.
The effective target for 2021 for the VEU program is 6.5 million certificates, the same as the 2020 target. As a result, the greenhouse gas reduction rates for 2021 are the same as for 2020.
For the 2021 compliance year (1 January to 31 December 2021) the reduction rate for electricity is 0.17255 and the reduction rate for gas is 0.00870.
Scheduled activity premises
The purchase of electricity or gas by scheduled activity premises is excluded from an energy retailer's scheme acquisitions for the year.
These premises are premises at addresses listed in Schedule 5 of the VEET Regulations, as well as other premises in relation to which there was, on 29 June 2014, an entry on the register kept under section 26F of the Environment Protection Act 1970.
However, these premises are entitled to ‘opt-in’ to the program, and will need to be included in an energy retailers’ calculation of scheme acquisitions following the registration of VEECs for the particular premises.
Annual energy acquisition statements
Each year, energy retailers with scheme acquisitions must submit audited annual energy acquisition statements (AEAS).
'Scheme acquisition' is defined in the VEET Act as the purchase for on-sale to prescribed customers in Victoria of electricity and/or gas from AEMO and/or gas from a producer, storage provider or interconnected pipeline operator.
Annual energy acquisitions statements must be audited in accordance with the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Guidelines and lodged with us annually by 30 April each year. For the 2020 compliance year the Essential Services Commission has used its discretion under section 33 of the VEET Act to invite energy retailers with a certificate liability to request, if required, a three month extension to the 30 April 2021 date to surrender their certificate liability. The commission has made this decision to assist energy retailers to meet their obligations, noting that 2020 has been a difficult period for many VEU participants.
We have established a panel of approved auditors from which energy retailers may nominate to conduct audits of their annual energy acquisition statements.
The panel has been established to reduce the effort required to approve the auditor, as well as improving the timeliness of the auditing process.