This Supplementary Order Paper makes a range of minor and technical amendments to the Electricity Industry Bill.
In clause 5, the amendment to the definition of market operation service provider is to allow for the future identification, by regulations, of other market operation service provider roles. The amendment to the definition of works is to reflect changes to the definition of electrical installation in the Electricity Act 1992, as made by clause 155. An amendment to clause 155 also aligns the definition of works in the Electricity Act 1992 with that revised definition.
The amendments to clause 18 insert words referring to the exemption for individual industry participants, to more accurately reflect clause 13, and omit an unnecessary cross-reference.
The amendment to clause 38 omits the requirement for the Minister to publicise the certified draft Code at least 1 month before it comes into force, and changes it to a requirement to publicise the Code as soon as practicable after certification.
The amendments to clauses 47, 48, 55, 62A, 62B, 63, 66, and 119 all relate to the Rulings Panel's jurisdiction to determine appeals against decisions made under the Code and resolve disputes between industry participants relating to the Code. The amendments are intended to clarify that both the Code and the regulations can determine—
the matters on which appeals against certain decisions made under the Code can be taken; and
the kind of disputes between industry participants that the Rulings Panel can be asked to resolve; and
the practices and procedures of the Rulings Panel in dealing with those appeals and disputes.
The amendment to clause 47 omits an unnecessary subclause.
The amendment to clause 48 adjusts the description of the Rulings Panel's role in dealing with appeals and disputes to more accurately reflect what is proposed.
The amendments to clause 55 recast subclause (2) to include a reference to procedures under the Code, and add a reference in subclause (3) to the Rulings Panel's functions under the Code.
The amendment to clause 59 omits words from the reference to an order made under clause 56(1)(c), in order to avoid an unintended narrowing of the scope of that reference.
Clauses 62A and 62B are replaced by a single clause that gives powers to the Rulings Panel to make determinations, orders, and directions in relation to appeals and disputes, subject to any general rules set out in the regulations, or any specific rules set out in the regulations or the Code.
In clause 66(1), new paragraph (e) is to ensure that costs orders by the Rulings Panel are appealable. New paragraph (f) provides that there is a right of appeal against an order of the Rulings Panel made in relation to particular kinds of appeals or disputes only if the regulations or the Code say that there is.
The amendment to clause 79 provides that, where the corporate separation rule does not apply to a distributor and its connected retailers or connected generators, the distributor and connected retailer or connected generator must enter into a use-of-systems agreement as if they were separate legal persons.
The amendments to clauses 99 and 100 are to allow the enforcement of the dispute resolution scheme to continue against former members of the scheme.
The amendment to clause 106 is intended to clarify that the Electricity Authority's enforcement powers extend to trustees of consumer trusts and customer trusts for the purposes of enforcing clauses 101 to 105 as well as any regulations made under clause 121.
The amendment to clause 110 is to avoid any implication that the costs of providing electricity to a place from an alternative source are subject to greater scrutiny by the Commerce Commission than other costs that are treated as the cost of providing electricity lines services.
The substitution of a new clause 116 adds a reference to the power to make regulations for the purpose of identifying market operation service provider roles.
The amendments to clause 119, which authorises certain regulations, reflect the clarifications made concerning the Ruling Panel's jurisdiction to deal with disputes between industry participants and appeals against decisions made under the Code.
The amendments to clause 124AA clarify that commercially sensitive aspects of directions may be withheld by the Minister for State Owned Enterprises from presentation to the House of Representatives or publication.
New subclauses (4A) and (4B) in clause 124AB—
clarify that the protections given by this clause do not extend to liability under the Commerce Act 1986. This is because clause 128 provides specific protections from liability under that Act instead; and
clarify that the protections from liability in subclauses (3) and (4) do not protect the Crown, Ministers, or State generators in respect of any breach of contract. Directors and employees are protected from breach of contract under subclause (5).
The amendment to clause 124F omits a reference to directions made under clause 124E(1) (because directions referred to in that clause are made under clause 124(2)), leaving only a reference to directions under clause 124E(4). It also provides that the terms and conditions of agreements referred to in those directions do not have to be disclosed under clause 124AA(3). This is because those agreements are with third parties.
The amendments to clauses 125 and 126(3)(b) provide more flexibility around the disposal of the Whirinaki generating station. The current clause 125 applies only if there is a Crown direction relating to the purchase of Whirinaki by Meridian. The amendments—
provide for the Whirinaki agreement to continue until terminated:
make it clear that the Minister can terminate the Whirinaki agreement before its termination date:
enable the levy of industry participants to cover any costs in respect of the Whirinaki agreement and in respect of the Whirinaki generating plant after the agreement is terminated.
The other amendments to clause 126 ensure that the levy to be paid by industry participants in the first financial year can recover all of the Crown's costs associated with the change from the Electricity Commission to the Authority, including the costs of transferring functions to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and the Commerce Commission. A wrong date is also corrected.
Clause 128 specifically authorises certain things for the purpose of section 43 of the Commerce Act 1986. Section 43 allows things to be protected from the application of Part 2 of the Commerce Act (restrictive trade practices). The amendment clarifies that the authorisation provided by clause 128 covers both—
the giving of directions under clause 124(2) relating to the reconfiguration of assets held by State generators; and
the doing, by State generators and their directors and employees, of anything reasonably necessary to give effect to a direction given under clause 124(2), or to contracts entered into pursuant to directions given under clause 124(2)(d).
Clause 128A exempts distributors from liability for damage caused by outages resulting from the distributor complying with regulations, the Code, or Electricity Authority instructions. The amendment extends the exemption to the owner of the national grid.
New clause 132A and the amendment to clause 131(5) are to address a transitional issue relating to the conditions contained in some resource consents relating to lakes used for hydroelectricity generation. Some existing conditions authorise lake levels to be lowered when the Electricity Commission, in effect, activates its reserve energy scheme. That scheme is not continued under this Bill. In order to maintain the effect of the existing conditions, new clause 132A provides that the conditions must be read as if they referred to the Authority making reserve supply determinations. The criteria for making those determinations must be publicly available. The Authority may delegate the power to make determinations to the system operator, but may not delegate the power to set the published criteria.
The amendment to clause 135 corrects a reference.
The amendment to clause 135A is to make the heading more accurate.
The amendment to clause 136 is necessary to enable the current chairperson of the Rulings Panel to continue in that role.
The amendment to clause 138 clarifies a transitional matter.
Clause 139A is omitted because it is redundant.
The amendment to clause 144 corrects a wrong cross-reference.
The amendment to clause 147 is to correct a drafting error in section 54M(3)(b) of the Commerce Act 1986, which is about administrative settlements with Transpower.
New clause 147A corrects an error in section 54P(1) of the Commerce Act 1986, which is about the regulation of electricity lines services. The section refers to a section 52P determination in a context where it should refer to an input methodology.
Clause 148 substitutes a new section 54R in the Commerce Act 1986. The amendment to new subsection (1) is to clarify that proposals to amend existing (and not just new) grid upgrade plans are also transferred from the Electricity Commission to the Commerce Commission. The amendment to new subsection (4)(a) inserts a reference to the threshold notice that relates to the administrative settlement between Transpower and the Electricity Commission. This is necessary because that notice and the deed of settlement, which is already referred to in the subsection, are separate legal documents.
The amendment to clause 12(1) of Schedule 4 removes the prescription about what kinds of complaints the approved dispute resolution scheme must be able to deal with.
The amendment to Schedule 5 omits some words to make the amendment to the Gas Act 1992 consistent with clause 16.