As the regulated distribution network service provider, Power and Water complies with the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Electricity Distribution Ring-Fencing Guidelines and obligations. These are set out in the National Electricity Rules as enforced in the Northern Territory (NT NER).
While our network operations are governed by the AER Ring-Fencing Guidelines, Power and Water’s other electricity supply operations including gas services and System Control are still governed by the Utilities Commission’s NT Ring-fencing Code.
Ring-fencing is an electricity network term referring to the separation of regulated and competitive business activities where a regulated entity also offers services into a competitive electricity market.
Ring-fencing addresses potential or perceived risks of cross-subsidies or discrimination. It is designed to ensure equal opportunity to all providers of unregulated electricity services.
Ring-fencing under the Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory
Power and Water are governed by the obligations set out in the Utilities Commission’s NT Ring-fencing Code for other areas of business including our gas supply business and System Control. Power Services as the Distribution Network Service Provider is now governed by the AER Ring-Fencing Guideline as set out below.
The Utilities Commission’s NT Ring-fencing Code aims to promote and safeguard competition and fair and efficient market conduct in the electricity supply industry by promoting the simulation of competitive market conduct and preventing the misuse of market power.
More information can be found on the UC Ring-fencing webpage.
AER Ring-Fencing Guideline
The AER’s Ring-Fencing Guideline for Electricity Distribution came into effect for Power and Water on 1 July 2019.
These guidelines detail Power and Water’s obligations around information sharing and disclosure, publishing of certain registers and preparing an annual compliance report.
However, not all AER Guideline provisions apply in the Northern Territory due to the nature of our broader operations.
These exemptions are primarily around the obligation for us to observe legal and functional separation of services and staff sharing.
More information can be found on the AER Ring-fencing webpage.
Power and Water is committed to fair dealing and to encouraging competition in contestable markets in compliance with the AER Ring-fencing Guideline.
The AER Ring-fencing Guidelines require that, where Power and Water shares confidential information with a Related Electricity Service Provider (RESP), Power and Water is required to provide access to the confidential information to other legal entities on an equal basis.
Power and Water will publish all valid requests for confidential information.
Clause 6.17.1B of the NT NER includes derogations, or exemptions, for how the guideline applies in the NT.
This includes the requirement for us to functionally separate staff, offices, and branding in order to separate our regulated network services from the other services we provide.
By virtue of the derogations, Clauses 4.2.1, 4.2.2 and 4.2.3 do not apply to Power and Water. The register required to be published in 4.2.4 of the Guideline will not be populated.
However, Power and Water chooses to maintain a Register of Staff and Office sharing activities in accordance with Clause 4.2.4 for transparency.
Legal entities wishing to apply for access to information identified on the Information register, or to request to be included on the Information register, email PNRegulationGroup.PWC@powerwater.com.au.