The Electricity Industry Amendment (Alternative Electricity Services) Bill 2023 (the AES Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 15 August 2023.
The AES Bill is a first step to deliver enforceable customer protections for new and atypical electricity supply business models.
The AES Bill creates the Alternative Electricity Services registration framework, administered by the Economic Regulation Authority. The framework will allow customer protections – such as the requirement for certain information on bills, or limits on disconnection – to be applied to services as needed, without the relatively high regulatory burden of an electricity retail licence. Customers will also have access to independent dispute resolution through the Energy and Water Ombudsman.
The framework is flexible, allowing tailored customer protections for a broad range of electricity supplies and services. Activities to be regulated by the framework will be prescribed in regulations.
A regulatory impact assessment will be required before any activity or service is regulated under the framework, to ensure that the benefits of regulation outweigh the costs.
Some initial services to be considered for regulation include the supply of electricity through embedded networks and solar power purchase arrangements or similar agreements involving on-site small scale electricity generation or storage.