What is an embedded network?
Most people buy their electricity directly from a licensed energy retailer. However, some people buy their electricity from a privately owned energy network—an embedded network.
An embedded network is an electricity network between connection points (e.g. units, shops, caravans) that isn’t part of the main electricity network.
Embedded networks are common in retirement villages, apartment blocks, caravan parks and shopping centres. The site owner or operator buys electricity from the grid and on-sells it to the residents.
This owner or operator is called an exempt seller because they need exemptions from the Australian Energy Regulator to operate networks and sell electricity.
The resident who buys electricity from an exempt seller is called an exempt customer.
Changes to embedded networks
If you live or work in an embedded network, you should know your rights and obligations, and who to contact if you have questions.
Currently EWOQ can’t investigate complaints from exempt customers.
However, the Queensland Government is passing legislation that will soon allow:
- exempt sellers to become members of the EWOQ scheme
- exempt customers to access EWOQ’s free dispute resolution services.
On 19 May 2020, the Mineral And Energy Resources And Other Legislation Amendment Bill passed through Queensland Parliament. This Bill expands the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland's jurisdiction to cover embedded network operators (exempt sellers).
Once this legislation is implemented, Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland will be able to resolve disputes between embedded network operators and their customers.
Who to contact for now
Until then, you need to contact the organisation that can help with your question about embedded networks:
- the National Energy Laws and how they’ll affect you – Australian Energy Regulator
- a body corporate decision about your embedded network – Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management
- a problem you can’t resolve with your embedded network provider – contact EWOQ to discuss your options.
These services provide only general information about legal requirements. If you need specific or legal advice, you should contact a solicitor.
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