The Hon Bill Johnston MLA, Minister for Energy has given approval for new and amendment regulatory instruments to be drafted to ensure the electricity regulatory framework supports the deployment of SPS as a network replacement service.
Energy Policy WA is seeking comment on the following regulatory instruments:
- New regulations - Electricity Industry (Stand-Alone Power Systems) Regulations 2021, which prescribe that the number of customers that a single SPS can serve is five.
- Electricity Industry Regulations Amendment (Stand-Alone Power Systems) Regulations 2021, which amend the following existing regulations:
- Electricity Industry (Licence Conditions) Regulations 2005, which specifies a new licence condition requiring Western Power and Horizon Power to develop and publish a customer engagement strategy in relation to SPS; and
- Electricity Industry (Obligation to Connect) Regulations 2005, which amends the obligation to connect arrangements to reflect SPS.
- Amendments to the Electricity Industry (Network Quality and Reliability of Supply) Code 2005, which expand the definition of network to include SPS and require quality and reliability reporting for SPS.
Any comments on the regulations should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 27 August 2021.
The proposed regulatory amendments and supporting information papers are provided below.
In the right circumstances, SPS (which typically comprise solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, battery storage and a back-up generator) may be more cost-effective, safer, and more reliable than poles and wires, particularly in regional and remote locations where the cost to supply electricity is high and customers are likely to experience substandard power reliability.
While significant opportunities exist for SPS as a network alternative, the regulatory and policy framework was not designed to govern electricity supply through an SPS. Energy Policy WA has progressed several initiatives to address legislative and regulatory barriers which include changes to:
- the Electricity Corporations Act 2005 to confirm that Western Power has a statutory function, under section 41, to provide SPS in a like manner to existing networks;
- the Electricity Industry Act 2004 to provide a legal definition of SPS and confirm that SPS can be regulated under the Electricity Networks Access Code 2004 (Access Code);
- the Energy Operators (Powers) Act 1979 to provide Western Power with the same power to access land for the purposes of SPS as it has for traditional poles and wires;
- the Access Code to support Western Power’s use of SPS and allow for the recovery of efficient expenditure associated with this technology through regulated network tariffs;
- the Electricity Corporations (Areas of Operation) Regulations 2015 to enable Western Power to provide SPS as a network replacement service within its distribution licence area, without requiring a physical connection to the South West Interconnected System.
In addition, Energy Policy WA has undertaken a comprehensive review of other relevant regulatory instruments and policies to ensure that the widespread deployment of SPS is supported by the regulatory framework as an alternative network replacement option.
This included a review of customer protections in an SPS context, which found that these protections would continue to apply to SPS customers, and no amendments were required. Energy Policy WA will continue to monitor arrangements.
The relative newness of SPS technology and the pace of technological change means that, inevitably, certain scenarios and customer experiences will emerge which may require certain policy and regulatory settings to be adjusted. Energy Policy WA will continue to work to identify and resolve these as they emerge and as SPS deployment increases.
SPS information papers and regulations for comment
Energy Policy WA has prepared a series of information papers related to the regulatory and code amendments.
Previous SPS regulations and submissions
For information on the Electricity Corporations (Electricity Generation and Retail Corporation Area of Operation) Amendment Regulations 2021, gazetted on 15 January 2021, please see below:
Stand-Alone Power System webinar - presentation
A Stand-Alone Power System webinar was held on 11 August 2021. A copy of the presentation can be found below.