Victorian households and small businesses wishing to install rooftop solar should find the process a good deal quicker and easier, after an amendment introduced by the state government that will reduce the wait for connection by up to 55 days.
The National Electricity (Victoria) Further Amendment Bill 2015, introduced on Thursday by state energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio, will switch Victoria to national arrangements for connection, which require the state’s neworks to follow tighter timeframes when they get a connection request.
Under the Bill, electricity distributors must have a basic contract available to small customers and generators who want to connect to the grid, and requests to connect must be met with an offer within 10 business days.
For solar customers in Victoria, the new rule is expected to reduce connection waiting times by up to 55 business days. For those cases where the connection process is complex, networks will have to provide clear information on the process, and still operate within a time limit.
It is hoped the changes will give customers a clearer idea of the connection application process and access to a dispute resolution process if things go wrong. Connection terms and conditions will also be more tightly regulated.
D’ambrosio says the new arrangements – which are supported by distributors and the solar industry, were “putting the interests of Victorian consumers at the front and centre of …energy retail policy.
“This Bill supports the Andrews Labor Government’s election commitment to provide fairer access to the grid for small customers who are providing renewable energy,” she said.
“We’re delivering on our promise to protect the interests of Victorian energy consumers and ensure greater transparency in the market so customers can make informed choices.”