Implementing the Government Response to the Grimes Review

The Government Response to the Grimes Review (PDF, 157.0 KB), released in August 2018, supported 42 of the 43 recommendations either in full or in principle.

The Victorian Government is implementing the supported recommendations.

Implementation Progress Update

Critical reforms are underway to transform Energy Safe Victoria, into a modern, fit for purpose regulator, capable of effective, best practice regulation to improve the safety outcomes for Victorians.

The first progress update on the implementation of the Government Response can be found here:

Independent Review of Victoria’s Electricity and Gas Network Safety Framework - Implementation Update (PDF, 264.5 KB)

Memorandum of Understanding

To acquit recommendation 17 of the Grimes Review, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Energy Safe Victoria.

The memorandum articulates principles of engagement between the organisations and provides clarity on the roles of each organisation.

Memorandum of Understanding between DELWP and ESV

The Review

The Grimes Review was conducted in 2017 and examined the design and adequacy of the safety regulatory obligations, incentives and other arrangements governing the safety of the electricity and gas networks.

The Review found that while Victoria has many of the key elements of a leading regulatory system, it also identified areas for improvement, making 43 recommendations chiefly focused on:

  • strengthening the governance of Energy Safe Victoria
  • broadening Energy Safe Victoria’s capabilities and preparedness to take strong regulatory action
  • consolidating energy safety legislation to create a single energy safety law.

On 1 August 2018, the Victorian Government publicly released the review’s final report and the government’s response to it. The Government Response supported 42 of the 43 recommendations, either in full or in principle:

  • support in full for 21 recommendations, which the Victorian Government is already taking steps to progress
  • support in principle for 21 recommendations, which will undergo further consultation and analysis to inform how they are best implemented
  • the Victorian Government did not support one recommendation for the Chair of the recommended Energy Safe Victoria Commission to also serve as the chief executive.

More information on the Review, including a copy of the Review’s Final Report and the Government Response, can be found on the Engage Victoria - Electricity Network Safety Review web page.

Expert Panel advice on distribution network reforms

The Victorian Government is investigating long-term reforms to the state’s electricity distribution network following prolonged power outages caused by severe storms in June and October 2021.

On 15 February 2022, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change announced the establishment of the Electricity Distribution Network Resilience Review Expert Panel (the Expert Panel) to lead Phase 2 of a review into the role of Victoria’s networks, specifically electricity businesses, following the 9 June storm.


Instigated in August 2021, the review examines how businesses can improve distribution network preparedness and response to prolonged power outages arising from storms and other extreme weather events, as well as strengthen community resilience to prolonged power outages.

Frequently asked questions and related issues

Instigated in August 2021, the review examines how distribution businesses can improve network preparedness and response to prolonged power outages arising from storms and other extreme weather events, as well as strengthen community resilience to prolonged power outages.

The Expert Panel has been appointed to consider evidence from both the June and October 2021 storms to determine appropriate long-term measures, policies and regulatory reform options to mitigate and better respond to prolonged power outages.

The Expert Panel is considering evidence from both the June and October 2021 storms to determine appropriate long-term measures, policies and regulatory reform options to mitigate and better respond to prolonged power outages.

The Expert Panel is led by Chairperson Jo Benvenuti, a former Executive Officer at Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre and an experienced consultant across consumer engagement and energy and water policy.

She is joined by Dr Claire Noone, a Principal at NOUS Group who has experience in regulatory design and led reform work at Consumer Affairs Victoria; and Mark Paterson, the Managing Director of low-carbon energy systems firm Strategen who has previously worked across distribution networks in a CSIRO leadership role.

Phase 1 delivered a report by consultants Advisian with short-term recommendations to be implemented for summer 2021-22. Action is now underway for all eight identified recommendations, including several measures already underway prior to the October 2021 storm.

These included improvements to communication with critical infrastructure operators, enhanced public messaging to support community preparedness, and faster and more streamlined support for power-dependent customers.

The review has included consultation with local councils, the emergency management sector, electricity distribution businesses, community organisations and local communities in areas that were heavily impacted by the June and October 2021 storms.

Once evidence from both the June and October 2021 storms has been considered, the Expert Panel will be able to make recommendations for reforms. The government is unable to pre-empt the work of the Expert Panel.

Consultation is now closed for this review.

In February 2022, communities affected by the June and October storms events were consulted using a survey approach.  
Throughout April 2022, the Panel held a series of in-person community meetings with people affected by prolonged outages. Written submissions were also received from community members who were contacted during the consultation in mid-April. Consultation and community feedback will be a key input to the Panel’s final recommendations.

The phase 1 findings and phase 2 Expert Panel final report will be made publicly available in 2022, subject to government consideration. More information will soon be available at www.energy.vic.gov.au.

Apart from the outcomes of phase 1 relating to improvements to communication with critical infrastructure operators, enhanced public messaging to support community preparedness, and faster and more streamlined support for power-dependent customers, there are regulatory incentives for distribution businesses to ensure that their customers have a reliable supply of electricity under the Electricity Distribution Code. These include the Service Target Performance Incentive Scheme (STPIS) whereby distribution businesses are financially penalised for delivering poor levels of reliability and the Guaranteed Service Level (GSL) scheme under which payments are automatically made to individual customers who experience outages that exceed the prescribed annual duration/frequency thresholds.

In addition, following the June and October storms, the Victorian Government deployed generators and Prolonged Power Outage Payments of $1,680 per week to customers in storm-affected areas.

Page last updated: 23/05/22