The AEMC has published terms of reference for developing a detailed package of proposed rule changes to enable distribution network businesses to supply customers with stand-alone power systems where it is cheaper than maintaining a connection to the grid. 

Under the new rules, a stand-alone power system (SAPS ) - usually a combination of solar PV, batteries and a back-up generator - could be installed by a distribution business but would not be physically connected to the national grid. Consumers with distributor-led SAPS will have the same protections, reliability standards and access to competitive retail offers via their retailer of choice as those connected to the grid.

The changes will enable those living in remote locations where power supply is unreliable, or subject to frequent or extended blackouts, to have better quality services. This should also reduce costs for all energy consumers by avoiding expensive investment in poles and wires where customer numbers are limited.

The COAG Energy Council’s Senior Committee of Officials has asked the AEMC to develop the initial set of rules for distributor-led SAPS. The Committee has also established a working group to progress accompanying legislative changes in line with recommendations in the AEMC’s final report on distributor-led SAPS published in May 2019. 

In parallel with its work on SAPS, the working group will progress the AEMC’s recommendations to protect consumers and improve choice in embedded networks, as set out in the Commission’s final report on Updating the regulatory framework for embedded networks. The AEMC will liaise closely with the working group to help deliver the reform packages for both SAPS and embedded networks.

A draft report for the distributor-led SAPS rule change package will be published for stakeholder consultation in December 2019. 

Media: Communications Director, Prudence Anderson, 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817