VIC – Banning Embedded Networks in New Residential Apartment Buildings

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The Victorian Government called for a Review into the implementation of a Ban on new Residential Embedded Networks within Victoria, with appropriate exemptions for Microgrids to encourage access to clean and cheaper renewable energy. ENM Solutions has made a submission to the Victorian Government’s Expert Panel outlining key considerations and challenges that will be faced as part of this implementation.

Click here to read ENM Solutions’ submission.

ENM Solutions identified within our submission that, following the Power of Choice reforms in 2017, there are now far more protections for Embedded Network customers and regulations for Embedded Network Operators that address many of the points raised in the Issues Paper. Consideration of the main barriers or points of confusion for Embedded Network customers is still required, ensuring that customers, retailers, and operators are all aware of their rights and obligations. To this end, continuing education campaigns for all stakeholders will continue to be effective in improving both regulatory and customer outcomes. Similarly, stronger enforcement by the regulator may help to remedy some of the issues raised within the Issues paper within Embedded Networks.

Crucially, this review also included the availability of exemptions for “Microgrids”, and specifically renewable energy “Microgrids” to which there was no legislated definition. ENM Solutions contended that this term should be removed from the review, with a more comprehensive review undertaken to define this term with relation to residential apartment buildings. Referring to the AEMC Final Report – “Review of the regulatory frameworks for stand-alone power systems” (2019), ENM Solutions proposed a revised simple exemption class system that may better achieve the aims of the Victorian Government. Implementation of a simple exemption class would allow implementation of such a ban without drastic change to the current framework, while also providing incentive for Renewable Energy within Embedded Networks.

ENM Solutions contends that Embedded Networks provide a strong base for the transition of a Microgrid that incorporates efficient, renewable energy. ENM solutions hopes that any further change to the regulations as part of this proposed ban acts to strengthen this opportunity, for network owners and residential customers, rather than inhibit it or create further complexity.

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