On 17 December 2015, the AEMC made a final rule to reduce the barriers to embedded network customers accessing retail market offers.
Embedded networks are private electricity networks which serve multiple premises and are located within, and connected to, a distribution or transmission system through a parent connection point in the National Electricity Market.
Common examples of embedded networks include shopping centres, retirement villages, caravan parks, apartment blocks and office buildings.
The changes to the National Electricity Rules set out in the final rule will create a new accredited provider role – embedded network manager – to perform the market interface functions that link embedded network customers to the National Electricity Market systems. The changes to the National Electricity Rules will also trigger changes in the relevant AEMO procedures and the AER's network exemption guideline. Together, these amendments will:
set out the detailed functions, responsibilities, and governance arrangements for embedded network managers; and
specify which embedded network operators are required to appoint an embedded network manager.
The Commission has also recommended separate but supporting changes to state and territory legislation, the AER's network exemption guideline and a review to the National Energy Retail Rules for embedded network customers. These recommendations have been made with the aim of a further decrease in barriers to embedded network customers accessing retail market offers.
On 2 October 2014, AEMO submitted a rule change request to the AEMC proposing amendments to the regulation of embedded networks within the National Electricity Market.
AEMO seeks to clarify the metering and other arrangements that apply to embedded networks and reduce the barriers to embedded network customers accessing retail market offers. AEMO anticipated that this would promote competition by allowing embedded network customers to choose whether to be supplied energy and related services by the provider of the embedded network or by an authorised retailer participating in the National Electricity Market.