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Embedded network metering

Introduction

The purpose of this document is to assist the electrical industry to understand their responsibilities as required by the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (the Act), the Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009 and exemptions made by Orders–in-Council published in the Government gazette in relation to metering.

Specifically, the difference between the metering owned by a Major Electricity Company (MEC – distribution business) and embedded network metering.

Application

These technical and safety requirements apply in Victoria through Energy Safe Victoria’s (ESV) legislation and are to be applied in conjunction with the National Electricity Rules, administered by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

These requirements apply to embedded network operators that coordinate the installation or replacement of metering equipment for embedded networks (referred to hereafter as non-MEC metering providers).

These requirements apply to both low and high voltage electrical installations.

Background

There is a common misconception by industry that the installation of metering equipment is not considered electrical installation work and therefore, is not required to be installed by a licensed electrical worker or a certificate of electrical safety issued. This is not the case.

The installation of non-MEC owned metering is defined as electrical installation work and therefore is required to comply with the Electricity Safety Act 1998 and the Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009.

The Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009 mandates AS/NZS 3000 “the Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules” as the minimum requirements for the design, construction and verification of electrical installations.

The installation of MEC owned metering equipment is exempted from various requirements of the Act including –

  • Division 1 which relates to the Registration of electrical contractors, and
  • Division 2 which relates to the Licensing of electrical workers, and
  • Division 3 which relates to the requirements for Electrical work, certificates of electrical safety and the inspection of prescribed electrical installation work.

The exemption also prescribes the minimum requirements for qualifications, training and testing for persons installing, replacing or altering MEC owned metering equipment.

Compliance

The installation of non-MEC metering equipment (as is the case with any other electrical installation work) requires the person or company providing that service to:

  • be a registered electrical contractor;
  • employ licensed electrical workers to perform the work;
  • ensure any prescribed work is inspected by a licensed electrical inspector; and
  • issue certificates of electrical safety in relation to that work.

Meter boards and panels

MECs, through their exemption can maintain the inherited timber meter boards and panels providing they are in good condition.

The installation of non-MEC metering equipment requires the meter panels and associated metering wiring to comply with the minimum requirements of the AS/NZS 3000.

All metering equipment should be installed in accordance with the Victorian Service & Installation Rules (SIR’s), this will minimise rework in the event that conversion to National Market Metering is required.

Embedded networks

Greenfield and brownfield embedded networks require the installation of gate or parent metering that records the energy consumption of the embedded network.

Generally, the gate metering equipment is owned by an MEC but under contestability rules this could be a non-MEC owned meter.

The child metering is normally owned by the embedded network operator and records the energy consumption of each customer, but under the embedded network guidelines could remain or become a MEC owned meter.

Guidance – types of electrical installation work

Contrary to regulation 238 of the Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009, the installation of metering equipment is determined to be non-prescribed electrical installation work when the consumer mains or submains have been certified on a prescribed certificate by the licensed electrician and inspected by a licensed electrical inspector. This would also apply when consumers mains or sub main are replaced.

The replacement of metering equipment only is non-prescribed electrical installation work in compliance with Regulation 238 (3)(b) of the Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009

Current transformer metering equipment

  • The installation of current transformer chamber is prescribed electrical installation work, and
  • the installation of the ct metering and associated ct metering equipment is non-prescribed electrical installation work, and
  • the replacement of the ct meter and associated ct metering equipment is non-prescribed electrical installation work.

Other metering equipment

  • the installation or replacement of the metering equipment is non-prescribed electrical installation work; and
  • the replacement of a MEC owned meter with a non-MEC owned meter is non-prescribed electrical installation work.

All work must comply with the minimum requirements of the AS/NZS 3000, the Wiring Rules, NER’s and SIR’s.

The appropriate Certificate of Electrical Safety must be issued in relation to that work.

Meter provider

Meter installers, unless exempted, must be registered as a Registered Electrical Contractor (REC) in compliance with the Electricity Safety Act 1998 – Part 3 – Division 1 – Registration of electrical contractors.

Testing

To ensure the integrity and safety of the customer’s electrical installation the non-MEC Metering installers must –

Ensure that:

  1. the work is carried out by a licensed electrical worker (LEW), and
  2. the LEW has been properly trained in the safety aspects and limitations in relation to that work, and
  • “before the electricity supply is made available” ensure that the work is tested –
  • in accordance with the requirements of the Victorian Electricity Supply Industry (VESI): Installation Supply Connection Tests & Procedures manual to ensure integrity of supply to the customers main or occupancy switchboard or the equipment to be supplied and the correct operation of metering equipment on the connection of the electricity supply; or
  • in compliance with AS 4741:2010 – Testing of connections to low voltage electricity networks; or
  • for HV installations – in compliance with section 9 of AS 2067 “Substations and high voltage installations” and clause 9.14 of the SIR’s; and
    1. as far as practicable, ensure the installation is safe to energise.

Electricity Suppliers

A body corporate or person that provides electricity to another person is defined in the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (the Act) as an electricity supplier.

Section 45 of the Act requires an electricity supplier to –

Before an electricity supplier first connects an electrical installation or an individual customer’s electrical installation to an electricity supply, the electricity supplier must ensure that –

  1. a certificate of inspection of the prescribed electrical installation work in relation to that installation or portion of an electrical installation to be connected to supply has been issued by a licensed electrical inspector; and
  2. a certificate of electrical safety has been issued for the installation of the metering equipment by the meter installer; and
  3. the meter installer has performed all the required tests; and
  4. as far as practicable, ensure the installation is safe to energise.

The above requirement replicates the MEC requirements for the connecting of an electrical installation to the electrical network. This equally applies to an embedded network operator, metering co-ordinator, responsible person that provides electricity to customers.

Copies of Certificates of Electrical safety along with other documentation required by the AER must be retained for seven years.

Electricity providers with high voltage embedded networks

Must also comply with –

  • Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009 – Part 3- Division 1- Duties of owners and operators of high voltage electrical installations, complex electrical installations,
  • Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009 – Part 2- Division 5 – Reporting and records, and
  • Electrical Safety (Bushfire Mitigation) Regulations 2013, and
  • Section 9 of the Victorian Service and Installation Rules.

Relevant legislation and definitions

Orders in council – CONSOLIDATED VERSION AS AT 10 FEBRUARY 2013

G17_1999 as amended by Orders in Council published in the Government Gazette on: 16 December 1999 (G50), 27 January 2000 (G4), 7 September 2000 (G36), 24 October 2002 (G43), 16 December 2004 (G51); 19 October 2006 (G42); 13 August 2009 (G33) and 6 February 2013 (S34).

Part 2

Section 4(1)(b) of the Electricity Safety Act 1998

Electrical equipment

  1. Divisions 1, 2 (with the exception of section 39 but only for the purpose of clause 1(c) of this Order) and 3 (with the exception of section 43) of Part 3 of the Act do not have effect in relation to the following electrical installations –

Electrical installations

  1. upstream of the point of supply except electrical installations used for the consumption of electricity by the electricity supplier;
  2. comprising of connections to consumers terminals for the purpose of providing electricity supply;
  3. used for metering or the control or protection of metering circuits, and equipment connected or to be connected to metering owned by a distribution company on the condition that only limited and ancillary electrical installation work that is necessary as part of the metering work is carried out. To maintain the integrity and safety of the customer’s electrical installation the work must be carried out by a person who –
    1. possesses the qualifications, proficiency, competency and experience to at least Certificate III level or equivalent as a lineworker, meter technician or electrician to enable that work to be performed; and
    2. has been properly trained in the safety aspects and limitations in relation to that work; and
  • has satisfactorily completed a course and practical assessment in accordance with the Certificate III ESI Distribution (Power Line) Metering Installations Unit or demonstrated equivalent competency; and
  1. undertakes testing in accordance with the requirements of the Victorian Electricity Supply Industry (VESI): Installation Supply Connection Tests & Procedures manual to ensure integrity of supply to the customers main or occupancy switchboard or equipment to be supplied and the correct operation of metering equipment; and
  2. prior to enabling the electrical installation to be used by the customer verifies as far as practicable that the installation is safe to energise; or
  3. is working under supervision as allowed under section 39 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 and such supervision is provided by a person who satisfies sub-paragraphs (i) through to (v) of this paragraph.

Electricity Safety Act 1998

Definitions

Electricity supplier – means a person who supplies electricity to another person.

Electrical installation ­– means electrical equipment that is fixed or to be fixed in, on, under or over any land but does not include a supply network that is owned or operated by a major electricity company;

Electrical installation work – means installation, alteration, repair or maintenance of an electrical installation

Section 44

  • A licensed electrical installation worker must ensure that all electrical installation work carried out by that worker–
    • Complies with this Act (Electricity Safety Act 1998) and the regulations (Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009); and
    • Is tested in accordance with and at intervals required by regulations before it is connected to the electricity supply.

Penalty:      40 penalty units.

Section 45

  • Before an electricity supplier first connects an electrical installation to an electricity supply, the electricity supplier must ensure that a certificate of inspection of the prescribed electrical installation work in relation to that installation has been issued by a licensed electrical inspector in accordance with this section.
  • In the case of a natural person, 40 penalty units;

In the case of a body corporate, 200 penalty units.

Electricity Safety Act 1998

Metering that the electricity distributor owns is exempted from Divisions 1, 2 (with the exception of section 39 but only for the purpose of clause 1(c) of this Order) and 3 (with the exception of section 43) of Part 3 of the Act

Division 1 – Registration of electrical contractors

Section 39 – Apprentices

Division 2 – Licensing of electrical workers

Division 3 – Electrical work

Section 43 – Safety of electrical Installations.

 

These requirements are uncontrolled when printed.

Contact us

If you have any queries in relation to electricity suppliers and metering, please contact ESV on 03 9203 9700 or by email at info@energysafe.vic.gov.au or contact our Electrical technical assistance line on (03) 9203 9700 and selecting option 2 from the menu system or emailing your query to ElectricalInstallationEnquiries@energysafe.vic.gov.au.