This page aims to assist the electrical industry to understand their responsibilities
- as required by the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (the Act)
- the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 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.
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 do not apply to the five Major Electricity Companies (MEC’s) that hold a distribution licence under the Electricity Industry Act 2000, but do apply to subsidiary companies installing metering equipment not owned by the MEC (non-MEC metering).
These requirements apply to both low and high voltage electrical installations.
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 Electrical Safety Act 1998 and the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019.
The Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 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
- 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.
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,
- ensure any prescribed electrical installation work is inspected by an licensed electrical inspector, and
- issue certificates of electrical safety in relation to that work.
Meter boards and panels
MECs, through their exemption, can maintain 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 AS/NZS 3000.
All metering equipment should be installed in accordance with the Victorian Service & Installation Rules (SIRs). This will minimise rework in the event that conversion to National Market Metering is required.
Greenfield and brownfield embedded networks require the installation of a gate or parent meter that records the energy consumption of the embedded network.
Generally, the parent metering equipment is owned by a MEC but under contestability rules this could be a non-MEC meter.
The child metering is normally owned be the embedded network operator and records the energy consumption of each customer, but under the embedded network guidelines could remain or become a MEC meter.
Guidance – types of electrical installation work
The Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 determines the installation of metering equipment to be non-prescribed electrical installation work when the consumer mains or submains have been certified on a separate prescribed certificate by the licensed electrician and inspected by a licensed electrical inspector. This would also apply when a consumer's mains or sub main are replaced.
The replacement of metering equipment only is non-prescribed electrical installation work in compliance with Regulation 249 of the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019.
Current transformer metering equipment
- The installation of current transformer chamber is prescribed electrical installation work
- 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 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.
To ensure the integrity and safety of the customer’s electrical installation the non-MEC Metering installers must ensure that:
- the work is carried out by a licensed electrical worker (LEW), and
- 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
- as far as practicable, ensure the installation is safe to energise.
The exemption for MEC-owned metering equipment also prescribes the minimum requirements for qualifications, training and testing for persons installing, replacing or altering MEC-owned metering equipment.
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.
Before an electricity supplier first connects an electrical installation or an individual customer’s electrical installation to an electricity supply, Section 45 of the Act requires that an electricity supplier must ensure that
- 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
- a certificate of electrical safety (COES) has been issued for the installation of the metering equipment by the meter installer and
- the meter installer has performed all the required tests and
- 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 (General) Regulations 2019 – Part 5- Division 1- Duties of owners and operators of high voltage electrical installations complex electrical installations
- Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 – Part 4 – Reporting and records
- Electrical Safety (Bushfire Mitigation) Regulations 2013 and
- Section 9 of the Victorian Service and Installation Rules.
Relevant legislation and definitions
Electricity Safety Act 1998
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.
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.
Before the first connection of an electrical installation to an electricity supply, the 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 (LEI) 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.
Date: 10/06/2023 1:05
The material in this print-out was accurate at the time of printing.
Reviewed 06 February 2023