Pilbara electricity reforms to take effect from 1 July 2021

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McGowan Government delivers electricity reforms in the Pilbara.
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The Pilbara electricity reforms will take effect from 1 July 2021. In 2017, the McGowan Government announced it would design a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework for the Pilbara region to facilitate competition and enhance the security and reliability of electricity services in the Pilbara region.

The two key components of the reforms include:

  • a light-handed third-party access regime, which is codified in the Pilbara Networks Access Code; and
  • an independent system operator or ISO, which will operate under the Pilbara Networks Rules.

From 1 July 2021, Horizon Power’s coastal Pilbara network and Alinta Energy’s Port Hedland network will be regulated under the light-handed access regime. 

The light-handed regime is designed to avoid most of the time and costs associated with full regulation by deferring various issues from up-front determination to negotiation between an access seeker and network service provider and, if necessary, binding arbitration. The regime is codified in the Pilbara Networks Access Code, which includes the principles that network service providers must use in developing prices, and the information that a network service provider must make available to facilitate timely and effective negotiation.

The final suite of access information is not required to be published by Horizon Power and Alinta Energy until 7 January 2022, and an access dispute cannot be commenced until this date. Should an access application be received before 7 January 2022, both network service providers are required to provide a draft information pack and to negotiate terms and conditions of access in good faith. 

The ISO role will be undertaken by Pilbara ISOCo, an incorporated not-for-profit company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwlth). The founding members of Pilbara ISOCo are the three main operators of electricity networks in the Pilbara: Horizon Power, Alinta Energy and Rio Tinto. 

The ISO will be responsible for maintaining and improving system security, managing essential system services and facilitating network coordination and planning.  The commencement of these functions will be staged over six months to provide the ISO and market participants with sufficient time to transition to the new arrangements.

Energy Policy WA wishes to thank industry stakeholders for their engagement throughout the design and development of the Pilbara electricity reforms.

To find out more information visit our web page: Pilbara