Rule Change: Completed
On 21 May 2020, the Commission made a more preferable final rule to provide certainty of meter installation timeframes for customers with shared fusing.
The final rule provides customers with shared fusing with certainty by introducing further installation timeframes. A customer can consent to an installation date agreed with the retailer, or failing agreement, have the work carried out within 30 business days. Where needed, distributors will be required to carry out a planned interruption on an agreed date, or where no date is agreed within 25 business days. The introduction of meter installation timeframes where there is shared fusing will reduce installation delays for these customers.
The final rule will improve customer outcomes by improving access to new metering services for customers with shared fuses, while also reducing future adverse outcomes by requiring site information be recorded under metrology procedures.
The key features of the more preferable final rule are:
- Introduction of new installation timeframe for retailers where there is shared fusing. Where the installation of a meter requires an interruption to the supply of other customers, a retailer must agree a date with the customer, or if no date is agreed, the retailer must affect the meter service within 30 business days.
- Distributors to effect planned interruption within a required timeframe. Where a retailer has requested a distributor to carry out a distributor planned interruption to enable the installation of a meter, DNSPs must carry out the interruption on the date agreed with the retailer and the customer, or if no date is agreed, within 25 business days.
- Introduction of new repair and replacement timeframe for metering coordinators. Where the rectification of a faulty meter cannot occur without interrupting supply to other customers, the MCs must rectify the meter within 30-business days.
- Clarifying retailer planned interruption rights and obligations. Minor updates to clarify that retailers can interrupt supply to any of its own customers for metering purposes.
- Distributors to collect and make available shared fusing information. Updates to AEMO’s metrology procedures will require distributors to record shared fusing information as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the site’s arrangement. Retailers and metering parties are required to notify the distribution business about shared fusing as soon as practicable.
On 20 May 2019 the Commission received a rule change request from the Chair of the Competitive Industry Metering Group, a sub-branch of Master Electricians Australia, that seeks to amend the NER and NERR. The request proposes to allow metering coordinators to interrupt customers’ electricity supplies to install or repair an electricity meter.
If a customer lives in an apartment block with shared electricity connections, the supply of all customers that share the connection may need to be interrupted for metering work. In these circumstances, a distribution planned interruption will usually be required.
The rule change request aims to reduce delays in installing new meters or undertaking maintenance by giving metering coordinators the ability to interrupt supply to customers, as long as they have obtained consent from the affected customers or given four business days’ notice. The metering coordinators would need to meet the same obligations relating to planned interruption notifications as distribution businesses and retailers when carrying out their work, or face penalties.
The consultation process
The Commission held an initial workshop on 19 September 2019 for all interested stakeholders to discuss the issues raised in the consultation paper.
On 19 December 2019, the AEMC released a draft determination for a more preferable rule for consultation. A more preferable draft rule was proposed due to concerns that the rule proposed by CMIG would introduce consumer protection risks, as there is no direct relationship between the metering coordinator and the consumers who would be affected if metering coordinators are allowed to carry out planned interruption.
In submissions to the draft determination, a cohort of stakeholders, including the rule proponent, proposed an alternative solution to both the rule proposal, and the draft determination. The proposed alternative was that distributors be required to install separate isolation devices for each of the premises with shared fusing at the first supply interruption to install a new meter. The proposed alternative solution has not been adopted in the final rule.
The Commission received 22 submissions to the consultation paper, 25 submissions on the draft determination, and 8 supplementary submissions. These submissions, and a summary of the key issues raised by stakeholders in submissions to the draft determination can be found below.
The Commission held a second workshop on 20 April 2020 to consult on stakeholders’ suggested changes to the draft rule, as well as the alternative solution suggested by the proponent and a cohort of stakeholders.
A link to a recording of the stakeholder workshop can be accessed here. The workshop slides and a summary of the workshop discussion can be found below.