In November 2017, the Victorian Government published an update to the General Exemption Order1(GEO) which will come into operation on 1 April 20182. The updated GEO changes the regulatory framework in relation to the exemptions which apply to the generation, supply or sale of electricity in Victoria.
In addition to changes to the exemptions which apply to such activities, the GEO update also introduced new requirements which apply to those who engage in the supply and sale of electricity, providers under solar power purchase agreements and community energy projects which seek exemption under the GEO (non-licensed electricity providers).
One of the key new requirements is that most of the non-licensed electricity providers will be required to register for exempt activities in a new public register which will be established by the Essential Services Commission (ESC). The purpose of the register is to provide more transparency – for both the regulator and the public – in relation to this category of electricity providers (which is showing exponential growth). It will also provide better consumer protection for customers of these providers.
The new registration primarily applies to non-licensed electricity providers who engage in the supply and sale of electricity as well as providers under solar power purchase agreements and community energy projects.
Based on a draft of the registration guidelines3, which has been issued by the ESC, the following process will apply:
Non-licensed electricity providers who are currently supplying or selling electricity and are required to register with the ESC under the updated GEO, must do so by 1 April 2018.
Non-licensed electricity providers who will supply or sell electricity after 1 April 2018 must register with the ESC before it begins such activities.
The online registration portal is anticipated to be operational in mid-March 2018.
Registration will be done via an online portal.
The non-licensed electricity provider will be required to create an online account and answer a series of questions. Information sought will include:
- name and ABN/ACN of non-licensed electricity provider;
- contact details of the provider;
- date from which registration will be in force;
- site where the activity is being carried out;
- type of activity being carried out and information to confirm such activity does not require an electricity licence; and
- for providers who have already been operating for at least one year – an estimate of the aggregate yearly electricity consumption at the site.
Once the online registration process has been completed, a summary of the information in bold above will be published on the public register (the other information will not be published). In some instances, the ESC may require verification of the submitted information before it is published on the register.
Once the information is published, the non-licensed electricity provider is officially ‘registered’ and able to operate under the relevant exemption of the GEO.
There are no fees for registering with the ESC.
If you are a non-licensed electricity provider in Victoria, you can view our key takeaway by clicking the button at the top of the page.
2GEO 2017 comes into operation on 1 April 2018 with the exception of clause 11 (customer dispute resolution) which comes into operation on 1 July 2018.
3Final guidelines will be available on 7 March 2018.