- Under section 38(3)(b) of the Electricity Industry Act 2010 (“Act), the Electricity Authority (“Authority”) gives notice of making the Electricity Industry Participation Code Amendment (COVID-19 Deferred Payment of Distribution Charges) 2020 (“amendment”).
- The amendment is made urgently under section 40 of the Act.
- The amendment comes into force on 20 May 2020.
- The amendment makes changes to Part 12A of the Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010 (“Code”) to:
- provide for qualifying traders (which meet specified criteria, including in relation to facing liquidity problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic) to have an additional 60 days to pay amounts for the provision of distribution services under their agreements with the following distributors:
- Orion New Zealand Limited;
- Powerco Limited;
- Unison Networks Limited;
- Vector Limited;
- Wellington Electricity Lines Limited; and
- WEL Networks Limited; and
- restrict the ability of all distributors to change the prudential security required from the qualifying traders during the period that the changes are in force.
- The Authority considers that it is desirable to make the amendment urgently because the Authority considers that:
- COVID-19 is an extraordinary event, and there is a real and increased potential for some traders/retailers to exit the market;
- multiple retailer defaults due to COVID-19 could result in a sustained reduction in retail competition and innovation in the future, which means less choice for consumers and potentially higher electricity bills; and
- the Code amendments reduce the potential for multiple retailer defaults.
- A copy of the amendment and the Code is available on the Authority’s website http://www.ea.govt.nz/code-and-compliance/the-code/.
- A copy of the amendment and the Code may also be inspected free of charge or purchased from the Electricity Authority, Level 7, Harbour Tower, 2 Hunter Street, Wellington.
Dated at Wellington this 14th day of May 2020.
Dr THOMAS BRENT LAYTON, Chair, Electricity Authority.