Legislation

There are several Acts that make up the regulatory framework of the Victorian gas and electricity sectors.

Legislation administered by the Minister for Energy and Resources

Electricity Industry Act 2000
This Act regulates the Victorian electricity supply industry. It requires persons who generate, transmit, distribute, supply or sell electricity to obtain a licence from the Essential Services Commission of Victoria, or a licence exemption. Key provisions include a consumer safety net for domestic and small business customers.

Electricity Safety Act 1998
This Act regulates the safety of electricity supply and use in Victoria, and the efficiency of electrical equipment. It is administered by Energy Safe Victoria.

Energy Safe Victoria Act 2005
This Act establishes Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) as the safety regulator for Victoria for electricity and gas. ESV is also the safety regulator for certain pipelines, as provided for in the Pipelines Act 2005.

Fuel Emergency Act 1977
This Act provides for preservation and allocation of fuel supplies during proclaimed fuel emergencies.

Gas Industry Act 2001
This Act regulates the Victorian gas industry. It requires persons who distribute or sell gas to obtain a licence from the Essential Services Commission of Victoria, or a licence exemption. Key provisions include a consumer safety net for domestic and small business customers.

Gas Safety Act 1997
This Act regulates the safety of gas supply and use in Victoria, providing for the safe conveyance, sale, supply, measurement, control and use of gas. It is administered by Energy Safe Victoria.

National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005
This Act provides for the regulation of the national electricity wholesale market. It is part of a national scheme which gives effect to the National Electricity Law and the National Electricity Rules made under that Law. The lead legislation under the national scheme is the National Electricity (South Australia) Act 1996. The economic regulator is the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and the rule-maker is the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC). The national electricity wholesale market is administered by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

National Gas (Victoria) Act 2008
This Act provides for a national framework for third party access to natural gas pipeline services.  It is part of a national scheme that applies the National Gas Law and National Gas Rules as laws of Victoria. The economic regulator is the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and the rule-maker is the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC). The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is the gas market and system operator.

Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983
This Act prohibits uranium mining in Victoria and the construction or operation of certain nuclear facilities in Victoria, including nuclear reactors and nuclear power reactors. It also regulates the possession of certain nuclear materials.

State Electricity Commission Act 1958 (only section 107 is administered by the Minister for Energy and Resources)
Section 107 of this Act preserves the electricity theft and tampering provisions in the Electricity Light and Power Act 1958.

Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Act 2007This Act establishes and regulates the market in Victorian energy efficiency certificates, the purpose of which is to encourage the uptake of energy efficiency measures. The scheme is administered by the Essential Services Commission of Victoria.

Victorian Renewable Energy Act 2006
This Act establishes a scheme for creation, acquisition and surrender of renewable energy certificates, the purpose of which is to promote the development of renewable energy generation in Victoria. The scheme is administered by the Essential Services Commission (ESC) of Victoria. Victoria transitioned from this scheme to the Commonwealth expanded Renewable Energy Target Scheme on 1 February 2010.

Other Relevant Legislation

Electricity Industry (Residual Provisions) Act 1993
This Act provided for the restructure of the electricity industry.

Essential Services Commission Act 2001
This Act establishes the Essential Services Commission of Victoria and provides generally for its functions and powers.

Gas Industry (Residual Provisions) Act 1994
This Act provided for the restructure of the gas industry.

See Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents for consolidated Principal Victorian Acts and Statutory Rules as in force at a given point in time, including the Acts listed above.

National Energy Market Reform

Energy Market Reform is a shared responsibility among the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

COAG established the Ministerial Council on Energy (MCE) in June 2001 to provide national oversight of policy development for Australia's energy sector. The Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER) was established by COAG in July 2011 and carries on the key reforms of the MCE.

The National Energy Market Reforms provide for:

  • Simplification of national governance of energy markets through the Ministerial Council on Energy (MCE) from July 2004.
  • Rationalisation of economic regulation by establishing the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) responsible for rule-making for the National Electricity Market (NEM) and the electricity and gas network access codes, and the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to set revenues for the electricity networks and gas pipelines.
  • Agreement that the AER will be responsible for the regulation of distribution and retailing (other than retail pricing), under a national framework.
  • Improvements to the planning and development of electricity transmission networks, including a new national planning function.
  • Development of more user participation in the markets, including examination of options for a demand side response pool in the NEM.
  • A Review of the national gas pipelines access regime by the Productivity Commission, to be considered by the MCE in mid 2004.
  • Provision for the MCE to work closely with the Council of Australian Governments High Level Group on Greenhouse to address greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector on a national basis.

The reforms improve governance and regulation of electricity and gas market arrangements and will strengthen competition and encourage investment in Australia's energy market.

Victoria has taken a lead role in the reforms given the importance of effective energy markets and the signals they provide for efficient and timely investment in energy for Victoria.

The new governance and regulatory institutions commenced in July 2005.

Further information on the national energy market reform program is available from SCER.

National Regulation of Energy Distribution and Retailing Activities

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has agreed to establish a single national framework for regulating the distribution and retailing of electricity and gas services. The COAG Ministerial Council on Energy is developing national legislation to transfer regulatory functions for energy distribution and retailing from State regulators to the national framework.

The Australian Energy Regulator will be responsible for administering the national legislation under rules to be developed by the Australian Energy Market Commission. Replacing multiple state regulators with a single national regulator is expected to provide more efficient energy services, and to improve the incentives for more efficient investment in energy infrastructure.

National regulation of distribution and retail services will be implemented in two stages. Regulation of distribution network prices transferred to the national regulator in January 2008. The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) will transfer regulatory functions for energy distribution and retailing from State regulators to the national framework. Information on the NECF can be found here.