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Our Licensing Function

The ERA is an independent statutory authority established by the Parliament of Western Australia. Our purpose is to benefit the WA community by promoting an efficient and customer focused economy. We aim to achieve this purpose through the range of regulatory functions that we perform. We also provide advice to the government on important economic issues.

The ERA is responsible for administering the licensing schemes set out in the Electricity Industry Act 2004, Energy Coordination Act 1994 and the Water Services Act 2012.

Licensing

Persons intending to provide an electricity, gas or water service to consumers may be required to obtain a licence from the ERA.

We are responsible for issuing, amending, transferring and renewing electricity, gas and water licences. We must issue a licence if we are satisfied that an applicant has, or will acquire, and is likely to retain the financial and technical resources or ability to undertake the activities or services authorised by the licence. Before issuing a licence, we must also be satisfied that it would not be contrary to the public interest to do so.

Monitoring

We are responsible for monitoring licensees’ compliance with their licence conditions. We do this by arranging for independent auditors to perform periodic compliance audits of the licensees and, for the licensees that operate supply infrastructure, asset management system effectiveness reviews.

Compliance audits (also known as operational or performance audits) assess how well a licensee has met their obligations under the licence, including: minimum standards of service; lodging of annual reports; and compliance with applicable regulations and codes. Licensees must also provide us with a plan setting out the actions they will take to address the auditor’s recommendations in respect of any contraventions disclosed in the audit report.

Asset management system effectiveness reviews assess the effectiveness of the licensees’ policies and procedures used to manage the assets that provide the services covered by the licence.

The reports on compliance audits and asset management system effectiveness reviews are available on our website.

Enforcement

If a performance audit or asset management system effectiveness review discloses an unacceptable level of compliance with the licence, we may decide to reduce the period of time until the next audit or review and/ or serve a statutory notice on the licensee under the relevant Act. Licensees are required to rectify the licence contraventions in the notice within a specified period.

If we are satisfied that a licensee has failed to comply with a statutory notice, the legislation provides a range of mechanisms to enforce compliance, including imposing a monetary penalty and rectifying the problems at the licensee’s expense.

Performance Reports

It is a licence condition that electricity and gas distribution and retail licensees publish annual reports on their performance required by regulatory codes or the licence. We also publish annual reports on the performance of some of the gas, electricity and water service providers that we licence.

Reports published by licensees

Electricity distribution licensees who supply small use customers (customers who use less than 160MWh of electricity per year) are required to publish an annual report on their compliance with the Electricity Industry (Network Quality and Reliability of Supply) Code 2005, along with an independent audit report on the systems used to monitor their compliance with the Code. A copy of each report is provided to the ERA and the Minister for Energy prior to publication.

Gas distribution and trading licences require the licensee to publish an annual performance report under the Compendium of Gas Customer Licensing Obligations. A copy of the annual performance report is provided to the ERA and the Minister for Energy prior to publication.

Reports published by the ERA

Each year, we collect non-financial performance data from electricity licensees who supply small use customers, gas and water licensees. The data is used to prepare the following annual performance reports:

  • Energy distributors. This annual report covers customer connections, customer service (complaints and telephone service), network reliability, guaranteed service level payments, street light repairs, gas consumption and gas leak repairs.
  • Energy retailers. This annual report covers affordability, customer service, disconnections (for non-payment), reconnections and guaranteed service level payments.
  • Water service providers who supply water and sewerage services to towns with more than 1,000 connected properties. This annual report covers, amongst other things, asset data, customer service, customer complaints and connected properties. The report also provides limited information about the State’s two largest irrigators.

Under the Code of Conduct for the Supply of Electricity to Small Use Customers, electricity licensees have to publish their non-financial performance data by a date specified by the ERA.

National Water Performance Report

Western Australia is a signatory to the National Water Initiative Agreement along with the Commonwealth and other States and Territories. Under the agreement, we have responsibility for collecting annual performance data from service providers on behalf of the Commonwealth, and participating in the development of the National Performance Reports published by the Commonwealth.