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Unlocking electricity networks to support innovation

Unlocking electricity networks to support innovation

7 November 2017

Widespread benefits could arise if hurdles to parties accessing electricity networks are removed, according to a recent Electricity Authority consultation.

The Authority’s ‘Enabling Mass Participation’ consultation asked what needs to be done to make sure consumers benefit from innovation and new technology, including giving them more choice and control.

The 39 submissions received broadly supported the Authority’s current and planned work in this area, but also unveiled a lack of confidence that access to electricity networks was equal and unbiased.

Electricity Authority Chief Executive Carl Hansen says any roadblocks to a level playing field for network access would limit innovation and reduce potential gains for consumers.

“We want to ensure people can bring innovation and new ways of doing business without coming across any unnecessary barriers stopping them from entering the market.

“For example, some parties are exploring the potential of evolving technologies such as batteries. Using these technologies often requires access to a distribution network—this access needs to be equal and non-discriminatory,” Mr Hansen says.

“Consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries of innovation. We want to make sure existing arrangements aren’t standing in the way of more competitive, reliable and efficient outcomes.”

The Authority’s newly established Innovation and Participation Advisory Group (IPAG) will be asked to closely look at whether unnecessary hurdles exist around network access, and how to address any potential barriers or factors undermining confidence in non-discriminatory access to electricity networks.

The Authority is exploring a range of other initiatives to ensure barriers aren’t standing in the way of consumers benefiting from innovation and change. It includes how data is shared and exchanged, whether there’s potential for consumers to enter trading relationships with multiple parties and a review of distribution and transmission pricing.

• See full Enabling Mass Participation decision paper.

• See Enabling Mass Participation consultation paper.


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