The McGowan Government has delivered its commitment to design a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework for the Pilbara with the launch of the new Pilbara Networks Rules.
Designed by Energy Policy WA, with industry collaboration, its two key components include:
- a light-handed third party access regime, which is codified in the Pilbara Networks Access Code; and
- an independent system operator (ISO), which will operate under the Pilbara Networks Rules.
From today, Horizon Power’s coastal Pilbara network and Alinta Energy’s Port Hedland network will be regulated under the light-handed access regime.
This will facilitate competition in the region and is expected to lower the cost of electricity for some larger customers. Competition will initially be open to customers who consume more than 1,200 megawatt hours per annum.
System operations will be undertaken by Pilbara ISOCo, a new, incorporated not-for-profit company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001.
Pilbara ISOCo’s founding members are the three main operators of electricity networks in the region and include Horizon Power, Alinta Energy and Rio Tinto.
The ISO will be tasked with maintaining and improving system security, and facilitating network co-ordination and planning. The commencement of the rules will be staged over six months to provide market participants sufficient time to transition.
A copy of the Pilbara Networks Access Code and Pilbara Networks Rules is available at https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/energy-policy-wa/pilbara
As stated by Energy Minister Bill Johnston:
“The implementation of electricity reforms in the Pilbara, which have been discussed for decades, is a significant achievement for the McGowan Government.
“The reforms are intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of electricity services in the region and support regional economic growth and development.
“Thanks to industry participants for their strong engagement in implementing these reforms.”