The Pilbara Networks Access Code was gazetted on 25 June 2021 and the Pilbara Networks Rules commenced on 1 July 2021.
The Code implements a light-handed access regime and establishes an independent system operator for the Pilbara region. Currently, there are two covered networks - the Alinta Energy Port Hedland Network and the Horizon Power coastal network. Under the Code, the ERA has a number of functions, including determining an initial rate of return for the networks, approving ringfencing arrangements, and administering a pool of arbitrators to consider any access disputes.
The Pilbara Networks Rules contain obligations for the operation, management, security and reliability of Pilbara electricity networks, including the functions of the Pilbara independent system operator. The ERA’s functions include providing assistance to the independent system operator for effectiveness reviews and supporting the independent system operator with monitoring compliance. The ERA must also administer the pool of arbitrators to consider any disputes under the Pilbara Networks Rules.