The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today received an application for authorisation of the National Electricity Code (Code). A draft application for acceptance of an access code for the proposed National Electricity Market (NEM) was also lodged with the ACCC. The application was lodged by the National Electricity Code Administrator (NECA) on behalf of the applicants. The Code was prepared by the National Grid Management Council (NGMC). ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said that the introduction of competition into the electricity sector, which has traditionally been characterised by vertically integrated public monopolies, has the potential to bring significant benefits to all consumers.

"The ACCC's job is now to examine the proposed Code to determine whether the public benefits of the proposed arrangements outweigh any anticompetitive detriment."

"The ACCC therefore invites interested parties to comment and make submissions on the market arrangements contained in the Code, emphasising particularly the public benefits involved as well as any anti-competitive effects of the proposed market arrangements."

The Code covers all aspects of the NEM, including market operation rules, system security, network connection, network pricing, metering, dispute resolution, monitoring of compliance and reporting, and provides for transitional arrangements for participating jurisdictions to adjust to the requirements of the NEM Code.

"The ACCC also invites comments on the impact of the draft access regime on the electricity supply industry, electricity users and the Australian community as a whole. However, as the legal process for assessment of the access code under Part IIIA of the Trade Practices Act 1974 is currently being refined, to streamline the public consultation process the ACCC will provide a further opportunity for interested parties to lodge submissions once the applicant (NECA) is able to formally submit the access code."