Overview

In October 2018, the Victorian Government announced an election commitment to ban embedded networks in new residential apartment buildings, with appropriate exemptions for buildings that use renewable energy microgrids to deliver low-cost renewable energy to apartment buildings.

The Government’s election commitment was made in response to ongoing concerns that consumers living in embedded networks pay higher prices and do not have access to the same level of consumer protections as those who live outside of embedded networks. An Expert Panel (Panel) leading the Embedded Networks Review (Review) is developing recommendations to Government on how best to implement the ban.

The Panel is also tasked with providing recommendations to Government on how to ensure that, to the fullest extent practicable, embedded network customers in existing (legacy) residential settings can access the same competitive retail offers and consumer protections as standard electricity customers.

Response to the Issues Paper

In January 2021, the Panel released an Issues Paper setting out the key issues related to the Review and sought stakeholder feedback. During the consultation period, the Panel held two online sessions in February 2021, an Issues Paper webinar and a Solutions Design workshop.

The Panel received 133 submissions from a broad range of stakeholders in response to the Issues Paper, including embedded network customers, consumer representatives, embedded network providers, energy retailers and distributors, and others (local government, Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria), consultants and research institutes).

The Issues Paper presentation from this phase of engagement can be found in the document library. The submissions to the Issues Paper have been made publicly available here.

The Draft Recommendations Report (Draft Report)

The Panel has released a Draft Report that sets out 16 draft Recommendations. The purpose of the Draft Report is to provide stakeholders with a clear understanding of how the Panel considers the Government’s election commitment to implement the ban can be delivered and how outcomes for embedded network customers can be improved.

When developing its draft Recommendations, the Panel considered stakeholder feedback to develop an approach that aims to retain the consumer benefits that should arise from living in an embedded network (for example through bulk purchasing and reduced costs associated with renewable or clean energy technologies), while ensuring consumers are adequately protected and have actual access to the retail market if they wish. This will ensure that, to the fullest extent practicable, all Victorian energy consumers will have access to the same competitive retail offers and consumer protections, no matter where they live.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is committed to providing opportunities for stakeholders to engage with the Review and provide views on the Panel’s proposed approach and potential impacts arising from the draft Recommendations.

You can participate in consultation on the Draft Report by completing all or part of a short or long questionnaire. Alternatively, you can make a submission in your own words, rather than responding to one of the questionnaires.

This is your opportunity to have your say about the draft Recommendations. The Panel will take all stakeholder views into account when finalising Recommendations to the Minister on how to implement the ban and ensure equitable outcomes for all Victorian energy consumers living in residential embedded networks.

Submissions in response to the Draft Report are invited by 5pm on Friday 6 August 2021.

What are the key issues with residential embedded networks?

The Panel has gathered evidence suggesting that customers living in embedded networks have varying experiences and outcomes, including:

  1. not having all the same consumer protections as on-market customers, such as lower standards for disconnections and life support arrangements
  2. not having the same access to rebates and concessions as on-market customers
  3. varying access to dispute resolution services
  4. significant practical barriers to accessing retail market competition
  5. a lack of transparency of pricing information due to bundling of several services together on a single bill (e.g. bulk hot water and unmetered gas for stove tops).

The Review is interested in receiving submissions about the potential impacts arising from the draft Recommendations and hearing about how this may affect your experience of embedded networks.

Read the Draft Report

The Draft Report has been informed by stakeholder feedback on the Issues Paper and public consultation. We strongly encourage you to read the Draft Report as it contains the Panel’s draft Recommendations on how best to implement the ban.

The Panel is interested in receiving comments about all or any of the Recommendations, and whether the Recommendations address issues of concern for stakeholders. As the Panel has not yet finalised the Recommendations, the Panel welcomes stakeholder submissions that respond to the draft Recommendations. If stakeholders consider alternative courses of action are more justifiable, the Panel requests supporting reasoning and evidence.

How to participate

You can participate by:

  1. Completing all or part of the short questionnaire about the potential impacts of the draft Recommendations and how this may affect your experience of living in embedded networks;
  2. Completing all or any of the long questionnaire if you are interested in providing feedback on the draft recommendations raised in the Report; or
  3. Uploading a submission in your own words rather than responding to the questionnaires. Instead of uploading your submission, you may also mail or email your submission to the Review using the contact details provided below.

In your submission, you are welcome to raise other concerns or considerations not related to the specific questions posed in the questionnaires and any other matters relevant to the Panel’s draft Recommendations.

Consultation is open until 5pm on Friday 6 August 2021.

Complete a questionnaire

Upload a submission

Mail your submission to:

Manager, Embedded Networks Review

Energy Sector Reform

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Vic)

PO Box 500

East Melbourne VIC 8002

Send an email to the Embedded Networks Review Secretariat

Email your submission to EmbeddedNetworks.Review@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Public information webinar

A public information webinar on the Draft Recommendations Report was held on Thursday 22 July 2021 from 11:00am - 12:00pm via Microsoft Teams.

Please find presentation slides from the webinar below. A supporting document with the talking point content is also provided. This document is intended to be read in conjunction with the slide presentation and sets out the information provided by the Panel during the session. A response to questions posted by webinar participants will be available shortly.

Next steps

The next step in the Review is the release of the Panel’s Final Report in December 2021. The Final Report will outline how the Panel recommends the Victorian Government implement its election commitment to ban embedded networks in new residential apartment buildings, with appropriate exemptions.

Privacy Collection Statement

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the principles of Victorian privacy laws. For more information read DELWP's Information Privacy Policy.

The information you provide will be used by DELWP to inform the Review. The information in your submission is collected by DELWP to administer the public consultation process only.

Details about the use of your submission (including your questionnaire response)

DELWP may do the following with the information you provide in your submission and questionnaire response:

  • use the personal information you provide to update you on the results of the consultation process, and to discuss the details of the submission and questionnaire content further where necessary
  • publish a copy of your submission on the DELWP website or other Victorian Government website
  • publish de-identified and aggregated questionnaire results on the DELWP website or other Victorian Government website.
  • quote directly from your submission in the draft and final Review reports
  • make it available to other Victorian Government agencies to inform the Review.

Please de-identify any free text in comment boxes so that individuals cannot be identified.

For transparency and accountability, the contents of your submission may be published on a Victorian Government website which is accessible worldwide. Any person may view your comments.

Your comments may remain on external servers, even once your comments are removed from the original website it was published on.

All submissions are public documents and may be accessed by any member of the public unless you request, and your comments are given, confidential status.

If you are making comment as an organisation, then your comments may be published, including the name of your organisation.

If you are making comments as an individual, then your comments may be published, including your postcode but with no other details.

If you choose to make available the contents of your submission for publication, please ensure that individuals are not identified in the content.

If you freely and voluntarily provide any ‘sensitive information’ under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 in your submission, DELWP will consider that provision to be consent to collect the information and will then protect it under the Information Privacy Principles in the Act. Sensitive information is information relating to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of a political association or trade association/union, religious or philosophical beliefs or affiliations, sexual preference or criminal record.

You have the right to access and correct your information. Requests for access should be sent to the Manager, Embedded Networks Review, by one of the following:

  • email: EmbeddedNetworks.Review@delwp.vic.gov.au
  • mail:
  • Manager, Embedded Networks Review
    Energy Sector Reform
    Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Vic)
    PO Box 500
    East Melbourne VIC 8002