Electricity Overview

The Essential Services Commission Act 2002, together with the Electricity Act 1996 and regulations, establishes the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (the Commission) with regulatory powers in relation to regulated industries.

Those powers include the ability to make codes, rules and guidelines, and to undertake performance monitoring. This legislation is intended to support competitive markets in the electricity supply industry, and provide regulatory oversight of the monopoly transmission and distribution network sectors of the industry.

Major features of the regulatory regime include the establishment of:

  • the Essential Services Commission, with specified regulatory powers in relation to the electricity supply industry, and with significant independence from Government. 
  •  the Energy & Water Ombudsman SA scheme (EWOSA Scheme) which provides customers of licensed transmission, distribution and retail businesses with access to free and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • the establishment of the Technical Regulator, under Part 2 of the Electricity Act 1996, which has responsibility for specified technical and safety matters in relation to the electricity supply industry.

The principal functions and powers of the Essential Services Commission in relation to the electricity supply industry include:

  • administering the licensing regime for electricity entities (generation, transmission, distribution, system control and off-grid suppliers), including the issuing and ongoing monitoring of those licences;
  • monitoring and reporting on the performance of licensed entities with regulatory obligations imposed under Acts of Parliament, the licences they hold, industry codes, rules and guidelines issued by the Essential Services Commission;
  • making industry codes regulating the behaviour of licensed entities; and
  • enforcing compliance with licensees’ regulatory obligations, including undertaking enforcement action as appropriate.