Proposed changes to the regulatory framework to support stand-alone power systems

Energy Policy WA is seeking comment on regulations relating to stand-alone power systems (SPS).

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 submissions@energy.wa.gov.au by Friday 27 August 2021.

The proposed regulatory amendments and supporting information papers are provided below.

Background

Show more

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.

Electricity Industry (Stand-Alone Power Systems) Regulations 2021 - Consultation Draft
Electricity Industry (Stand-Alone Power Systems) Regulations 2021 - Information Paper
Electricity Industry Regs Amendment (Stand-Alone Power Systems) Regs 2021 - Consultation Draft
Electricity Industry Regs Amendment (Stand-Alone Power Systems) Regs 2021 - Information Paper
Electricity Industry (Network Quality and Reliability of Supply) Code 2005 - Consultation Draft
Electricity Industry (Network Quality and Reliability of Supply) Code 2005 - Information Paper

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:

Information Paper: Ability for Western Power to deploy Stand-alone Power Systems (SPS) in its distribution licence area
Electricity Corporations (Electricity and Retail Corporation Area of Operation) Amendment Regulations 2021

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. 

SPS Industry Forum 11 August 2021 - Presentation
Page reviewed 18 August 2021