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Governance – the Commission

On 1 January 2021, ESV became the Victorian Energy Safety Commission (VESC), the Commission, however, we will continue to be known as Energy Safe Victoria (ESV). See ESV’s Governance structure.

ESV's Commission - Sarah McDowell, Michelle Groves and Marnie Williams

Sarah McDowell, Michelle Groves and Marnie Williams

The Commission replaces the role of Director of Energy Safety and holds all regulatory powers previously held by the Director.

The Commission is responsible for providing leadership and strategic guidance for ESV and leading its transformation as a modern, fit for purpose regulator, capable of effective, best practice regulation to achieve the highest standard energy safety outcomes for Victorians.

The Commission has statutory responsibilities to achieve the objectives as specified in the Energy Safe Victoria Act 2005, the Electricity Safety Act 1998, Gas Safety Act 1997 and the Pipelines Act 2005 and any other relevant legislation.

The powers of ESV are vested in the Commissioners acting as a group. The Chairperson cannot exercise the powers of ESV alone, although they have reserve powers in the event of emergencies.

The Commission comprises:

  • Commissioner and Chair, Marnie Williams
  • Commissioner and Deputy Chair, Michelle Groves, and
  • Commissioner, Sarah McDowell

Operation of the Commission

The Commission meets 11 times per year. Decisions are made by consensus or by simple majority if a consensus cannot be reached (2/3).

Decisions reserved for the Commission include:

  • Electricity Safety Management Schemes
  • Bushfire mitigation plans
  • Gas safety cases
  • Prohibitions

Advisory committees

The Commission operates with five advisory committees.

Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)

This committee of six, plus the Chair, meet quarterly and is responsible for providing advice to ESV on regulatory functions, as defined below.

  • Network energy safety
  • Energy equipment and appliance safety
  • Safety of energy work
  • Compliance with safety
  • Energy efficiency
  • The changing energy landscape (e.g. hydrogen), and
  • advice on energy safety for the community, where this advice is not already provided by the Electric Line Clearance Consultative Committee, Victorian Electrolysis Committee or any committees established by ESV under Section 8 of the Energy Safe Victoria Act 2005.

Workforce Engagement Consultative Committee (WECC)

This committee of 16, plus the Chair, meet twice per year to provide strategic advice in relation to ESV’s development of broader workforce engagement strategies, including the promotion and sharing of best practices between gas and electricity network businesses, their workforce and contractors.

The scope of the WECC’s deliberations and activities will have regard for:

  • Advice provided by the Office of the Victorian Skills Commissioner in relation to worker training and skills
  • Network safety performance trends and outcomes
  • ESV’s interface with WorkSafe Victoria and other safety regulators
  • Worker competency and training
  • Developments in new technology (e.g. hydrogen)
  • No Go Zone and encroachment issues
  • Safety alerts
  • Major incidents occurring on the network

Future Trends Committee (FTAC)

This committee of 12, plus the Chair, meet twice per year to provide ESV with expert advice on matters relating to future energy trends that may impact the electricity and gas sectors (production, distribution and equipment/appliances) in Victoria, and regard possible approaches to manage changes and new sources of risk.

The scope of the FTAC deliberations and activities is to identify and assess trends in:

  • New and disruptive electricity and gas technologies and products
  • New and disruptive enabling technologies and products (e.g. hydrogen)
  • New business models arising from those technologies
  • Socio-economic, geopolitical, demographic, market and workforce changes
  • New approaches and methodologies for asset and safety management

Audit and Risk Committee

The Audit and Risk Committee meets at least four times per year and comprises ESV Commissioner (as Chair) and two independent members.

This committee’s role is to oversee and review ESV’s processes of management and the internal and external audit functions, with a view to assisting the Commission achieve its governance responsibilities. It must provide independent assurance, advice and assistance to the Commission (where relevant) on ESV’s risk, control, performance and compliance framework, and its reporting obligations under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1994 (FMA Act).

Remuneration Committee

The Remuneration Committee meets twice per year and comprises ESV Commissioner (as Chair) and three independent remuneration advisors.

The committee’s purpose is to provide independent advice, assurance and assistance to the Commission and the CEO on all senior remuneration and employment matters, to enable consistency with government policy and to ensure best practice principles are applied across ESV.