A draft decision of the Gas Distribution Code of Practice has been released by the Essential Services Commission, proposing a new framework for Victorian gas network customers which aims to be more fair and clear.
The draft decision proposes that there will be a new framework for connection obligations and connection charges. Feedback is sought on a proposal for new customers to pay upfront charges when a new gas connection is installed, bringing new gas connections in line with the current practice for electricity and water connections in Victoria.
The proposed Gas Distribution Code of Practice is part of the commission’s ongoing process to remake existing codes into codes of practice. This will streamline regulation, remove duplication, and better align with the national regulatory framework. It will also make it easier for the commission to use its new enforcement powers to effectively enforce the rules on Victorian Gas Distributors, including through civil penalty provisions.
Essential Services Commission Chairperson, Kate Symons, said modernising Victorian gas rules is in the long-term interests of consumers.
“We are proposing to remove inefficient incentives for new gas connections, by bringing them into line with the current practice for electricity and water connections. This will support Victoria’s energy transition to net zero emissions and support customers during the transition from fossil gas to electricity.”
Ms Symons also said that the draft code was developed following extensive consultation with stakeholders including gas distributors, gas retailers, consumer protection and climate action groups, peak industry bodies, and individuals.
“We are now seeking feedback from stakeholders on the proposed Gas Distribution Code of Practice. We will consider all feedback and prepare a final decision in early 2024.”
Feedback on the draft decision can be submitted via the Engage Victoria website up until 5pm on 21 December 2023.