The Bill amends the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005 (NEVA) and the Electricity Industry Act 2000. It amends the NEVA which applies the National Electricity (Victoria) Law (NEL)1 and the National Electricity Rules (NER) as a law of Victoria to facilitate expedited approval of transmission system upgrades. (Note for completion there are a number of Acts which comprise the regulatory framework of the Victorian gas and electricity sectors.2 The role of the Australian Energy Market Operator3 (AEMO) is to assist with the management of electricity and gas systems and markets across Australia.)
The Second Reading Speech provides: ‐ ‘The powers to make Ministerial Orders under the Bill may be used to fast‐track priority transmission projects and network investments to improve the reliability of Victoria’s transmission system… investments in Victoria’s transmission network are being held up by a complex national regulatory regime that subjects transmission projects to excessive delays. Victoria currently has no power to expedite or override these tests, or substitute a more appropriate test for whether transmission investments should proceed… the Bill will enable the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate (as Minister responsible for the administration of the NEVA) to make Orders to facilitate urgent transmission projects, under a new Division 7 of Part 3 of the NEVA. A Ministerial Order will be able to regulate specified augmentations of the declared transmission system, the provision of services in respect of such augmentations, and other services that support the transmission network, including modifying or disapplying relevant provisions of the NEL and NER.’
The Bill: ‐ Generally amends the NEVA to enable the Minister, by Order, to modify or disallow certain regulatory requirements that apply under the NEL and NER to (i) specified augmentations4 of the Victorian declared transmission system, (ii) services provided by means of specified augmentations and (iii) specified services to be provided to a declared transmission system operator or AEMO5 with respect to declared transmission systems.
Note section 13 of the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005 provides that ‘NEL means the National Electricity Law set out the Schedule to the National Electricity (South Australia) Act 1996 of South Australia as in force for the time being.’
For further information see https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/legislation/regulatory‐framework Electricity Industry Act 2000, Electricity Safety Act 1998, Energy Safe Victoria Act 2005, Fuel Emergency Act 1977, Gas Industry Act 2001, Gas Safety Act 1997, National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005, National Gas(Victoria) Act 2008, Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983, State Electricity Commission Act 1958, Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Act 2007, Victorian Renewable Energy Act 2006 and the Essential Services Commission Act 2001.
Section 3(2) of the NEVA provides that words and expressions used in the Act have the same meanings as they have in the NEL. See also Part 2 of the Schedule‐ National Electricity Law to the National Electricity (South Australia) Act 1996 provides that ‘augmentation of a transmission or distribution system means work to enlarge the system or to increase its capacity to transmit or distribute electricity.’
Note Part 5 of the National Electricity (South Australia) Act 1966 sets out the role of AEMO under National Electricity Law. Division 2 of Part 5 sets out AEMO’s adoptive jurisdiction functions. Section 50 of Division 2 provides;‐(1) Subdivision 2 applies to, and in relation to, a participating jurisdiction if (and only if) the application Act of that jurisdiction, or an instrument made under that Act, declares that it does so apply. (2) Subdivision 3 applies to, and in relation to, a participating jurisdiction if (and only if) the application Act of that jurisdiction, or an instrument made under that Act, declares that it does so apply. (3) A Rule or other form of subordinate legislation made for the purposes of Sub‐division 2 or 3 applies to and in relation to a participating jurisdiction if (and only if) the relevant Subdivision applies to and in relation to that jurisdiction.’
PARLIAMENT OF VICTORIA Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee - Alert Digest No. 3 of 2020 (Tuesday, 3 March 2020) pp. 8
National Electricity (Victoria) Amendment Bill 2020
View the Second Reading Speech (Lily D'Ambrosio)
Opposition amendments circulated
National Electricity (Victoria) Amendment Act 2020