If a network is covered then it is regulated and must have an approved access arrangement in place that sets out the undertakings made by the network, including terms, conditions, and price that apply to third parties seeking to use the network.
Under section 3.5 of the Code, the Minister must approve a coverage application if the following criteria are met:
- access to covered services on the network would promote a material increase in competition in at least one market other than the market for the covered services provided by the network;
- it would be uneconomic to develop another network to provide the covered services; and
- access to the covered services would not be contrary to the public interest.
The Code also requires the Minister to have regard to the geographical location of the network and the extent (if any) to which the network is interconnected with other networks.
The Code determines the process that the Minister must follow in assessing a coverage application. It establishes stages for public consultation and timeframes for decision-making by the Minister.
Alinta Energy’s Coverage Application
On 4 August 2017, the Minister received an application from Alinta Energy to have the portion of the North West Interconnected System (NWIS) owned and operated by Horizon Power covered by the Code. The NWIS is a regional electricity network in the Pilbara region.
On 2 February 2018, the Minister published a Final Coverage Decision (below) in respect to Alinta Energy’s application. The Minister has decided that Horizon Power’s electricity transmission and distribution network in the NWIS will be covered under the Code, effective 1 January 2020.
The Final Coverage Decision follows two rounds of public consultation in accordance with the requirements of the Code. Pubic consultation documents including the Draft Coverage Decision and Alinta Energy’s application are available below.