On 19 January 2017, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change announced an independent review of Victoria’s Electricity Network Safety Framework, to be chaired by Dr Paul Grimes. On 5 May 2017, the Minister announced an expansion to the review's terms of reference to include Victoria’s gas network safety framework.
It has been more than a decade since the current safety framework has been in place and it is timely to review the existing arrangements to ensure they adequately reflect the needs of the community in an increasingly complex environment.
The review will include extensive consultation with industry and the community to inform the development of a final report and recommendations.
Consistent with the expanded terms of reference, the Review of Victoria’s Electricity and Gas Network Safety Framework examines the safety framework applicable to the electricity and gas networks in Victoria and assesses its effectiveness in achieving desired safety outcomes. It will review the design and adequacy of the safety regulatory obligations, incentives and other arrangements governing the safety of Victoria’s electricity and gas networks.
The existing Secretariat established within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to support the independent reviewer, Dr Paul Grimes, has been additionally resourced.
Submissions for the Issues Paper on the review of Victoria’s electricity network safety framework closed on Friday 28 April. Along with the following organisations, R2A welcomed the opportunity to respond to the independent review.
Our response focuses on the following particular aspects of the review:
R2A’s overall perception is that electrical networks in Australia and New Zealand operate in an evolving and interesting regulatory space with overlapping financial, safety and security of supply issues. There is also a plethora of sometimes contradictory standards. Wending a path that simultaneously satisfies all of the competing issues is complex and fraught with methodological superstition. This undoubtedly creates substantial unnecessary expense and waste.
From the viewpoint of an effective safety framework, the key issues we believe are causing the greatest angst at the moment are as follows:
These key points are expanded in the body of the submission together with a possible way forward. See the full response here.