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Contestable metering

Introduction

The purpose of this document is to assist the electrical industry understand the requirements within the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (the Act) and the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (the Regulations) and the exemption for metering equipment owned by a major electricity company (MEC) and metering equipment owned by others such as retailers, interstate distributors and embedded network operators for the installation of contestable metering.

Application

These technical and safety requirements apply in Victoria through Energy Safe Victoria’s (ESV) legislation and are to be applied in conjunction with the National Electricity Rules (NERs), administered by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Background

There is a misconception by industry that the installation of metering equipment is not electrical installation work and is exempted from having to be installed by a licensed electrical worker (electrician) and the company undertaking that work being a Registered Electrical Contractor (REC). This is not the case.

The Order-in-Council exemption1 (the exemption) only applies to metering equipment owned by the MECs and requires the person replacing, altering or installing the metering equipment to be appropriately trained but not necessarily licensed as an electrician.

MECs are the five companies that hold a distribution licence under the Electricity Industry Act 2000.  A company owned by an MEC that trades under a different Australian Business Number (ABN) is not an MEC.

Each MEC is required to have an accepted Electricity Safety Management Scheme (ESMS). Companies are also be deemed to be exempt when:

  • that company provides metering services for the MEC by installing metering equipment owned by that MEC,
  • works under the requirements of that MEC’s ESMS, and
  • complies with the training requirements and Victorian Electricity Supply Industry (VESI) test procedure when supply is being connected.

Installation or alteration of metering equipment

The installation of non-MEC metering equipment (as is the case with any other electrical installation work) requires the person or company to comply with the Act and Regulations inclusive of being:

  • an REC,
  • employ licensed electrical workers to perform the work,
  • issue certificates of electrical safety in relation to that work, and
  • ensure the metering equipment is installed in compliance with AS/NZS 3000 – Wring Rules as published.

The Regulations mandates AS/NZS 3000 – Wiring Rules as the minimum requirements for the design, construction and verification of electrical installations.

Testing

To ensure the integrity and safety of the customer’s electrical installation the non-MEC Metering installers must –

Ensure that:

1. the work is carried out by a licensed electrical worker (LEW), and

2. the LEW has been properly trained in the safety aspects and limitations in relation to that work and “before the electricity supply is made available” ensure that the work is tested –

a) in accordance with the requirements of the Victorian Electricity Supply Industry (VESI): Installation Supply Connection Tests & Procedures manual to ensure integrity of supply to the customers main or occupancy switchboard or the equipment to be supplied and the correct operation of metering equipment on the connection of the electricity supply; or

b) in compliance with AS 4741:2010 – Testing of connections to low voltage electricity networks; or

c) for HV installations – in compliance with section 9 of AS 2067 “Substations and high voltage installations” and clause 9.14 of the SIR’s; and

3. as far as practicable, ensure the installation is safe to energise.

Meter boards and panels

The installation of non-MEC metering equipment requires the meter panels and associated metering wiring to comply with the minimum requirements of the Regulations that call up AS/NZS 3000 – Wiring Rules as published as the minimum requirements for the design, construction and verification of electrical installations.

All metering equipment should be installed in accordance with the Victorian SIRs, this will minimise rework in the event that conversion to National Market Metering is required.

Guidance – types of electrical installation work

The Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 determine the installation of metering equipment to be non-prescribed electrical installation work when the consumer mains or submains have been certified on a separate prescribed certificate completed by the installing licensed electrician and inspected by a licensed electrical inspector. This would also apply when consumer’s mains or sub main are replaced.

The replacement of metering equipment only is non-prescribed electrical installation work in compliance with Regulation 249 of the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019.

Current transformer metering equipment

  • the installation of the current transformer (CT) chamber, is prescribed electrical installation work, and
  • the installation of the CT metering and associated CT metering equipment is non-prescribed electrical installation work, and
  • the replacement of the CT meter and associated CT metering equipment is non-prescribed electrical installation work.

Other metering equipment

  • the installation or replacement of the metering equipment is non-prescribed electrical installation work, and
  • the replacement of a MEC owned meter with a non-MEC owned meter is non-prescribed electrical installation work.

All work must comply with the minimum requirements of the AS/NZS 3000 – Wiring Rules, NERs and SIRs.

Compliance for the electricity supplier

An electricity supplier is defined in the Act as “a person (body corporate or company) that provides electricity to another person”; this may include but is not limited to MECs, retailers, metering co-coordinators, responsible persons or any person that coordinates the connection of electricity supply to individual customers. This could be within an embedded or MEC network and applies to both low and high voltage (HV) electrical installations.

Section 45 of the Act requires an electricity supplier to –

Before an electricity supplier first connects an electrical installation or an individual customer’s portion of an electrical installation to an electricity supply, the electricity supplier must ensure that–

  1. a certificate of inspection of the prescribed electrical installation work in relation to that installation or portion of an electrical installation to be connected to supply has been issued by a licensed electrical inspector; and
  2. a certificate of electrical safety has been issued for the installation of the metering equipment by the meter installer; and
  3. all the required tests have been performed; and
  4. as far as practicable, ensure the installation is safe to energise.

Additional requirements for HV installations

Electricity suppliers that are not MECs with HV installations must also ensure compliance with –

  • Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 – Part 5- Division 1- Duties of owners and operators of high voltage electrical installations, complex electrical installations,
  • Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 – Part 4 – Reporting and records, and
  • Electrical Safety (Bushfire Mitigation) Regulations 2013, and
  • Section 9 of the Victorian Service and Installation Rules.
  • AS 2067 – Substations and high voltage installations exceeding 1 kV a.c., and
  • Meet the ‘Conditions of connection to supply’ by the MEC; and
  • Section 9 of the Victorian SIRs.

Relevant legislation, definitions and information

Electricity Safety Act 1998

Definitions

Electricity supplier – means a person who supplies electricity to another person.

Electrical installation ­– means electrical equipment that is fixed or to be fixed in, on, under or over any land but does not include a supply network that is owned or operated by a major electricity company;

Electrical installation work – means installation, alteration, repair or maintenance of an electrical installation

Section 44

  • A licensed electrical installation worker must ensure that all electrical installation work carried out by that worker–
    • Complies with this Act (Electricity Safety Act 1998) and the regulations (Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009); and
    • Is tested in accordance with and at intervals required by regulations before it is connected to the electricity supply.

Penalty:      40 penalty units.

Section 45

  • Before an electricity supplier first connects an electrical installation to an electricity supply, the electricity supplier must ensure that a certificate of inspection of the prescribed electrical installation work in relation to that installation has been issued by a licensed electrical inspector in accordance with this section.

In the case of a natural person, 40 penalty units;

In the case of a body corporate, 200 penalty units.

Electricity Safety Act 1998

Division 1 – Registration of electrical contractors

Section 39 – Apprentices

Division 2 – Licensing of electrical workers

Division 3 – Electrical work

Section 43 – Safety of electrical Installations.

Victorian Electricity Distribution Companies (MEC’s)

ALINTA AE LIMITED – ABN 82 064 651 083

UNITED ENERGY DISTRIBUTION PTY LTD – ABN 70 064 651 029

POWERCOR AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ABN 89 064 651 109

CITIPOWER PTY – ABN 76 064 651 056

SPI ELECTRICITY PTY LTD – ABN 91 064 561 118

 

These requirements are uncontrolled when printed.

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