National rules

The National Electricity Law requires anyone who owns, controls, or operates a generating system in the National Electricity Market (NEM) to register as a generator.

Exemptions apply if your generating system has a nameplate rating of less than 5MW when fully connected. We work with these non-registered generators through a negotiated connection service.

Generation systems of 5MW to 30MW capacity may be exempted from registering as a generator subject to AEMO discretion depending on how much power you expect to export over a 12-month period or if all export energy is purchased by a market participant rather than sold into the spot market.

Other rules also apply if you have battery storage facilities associated with your generating system.

Applications from registered generators with a capacity greater than 5MW are subject to a more extensive process managed in cooperation with AEMO.

This type of generating plant cannot be connected to the high voltage distribution system. It must be connected to the 66kV sub-transmission system. This may require upgrades to local networks or modifications to accommodate the new generator while also sustaining reliable, quality supplies to other customers.

Under Chapter 5 of the National Electricity Rules, the connection process for registered generators with a capacity greater than 5MW involves the following steps.

1. Preliminary enquiry 
  • Provide general, high level information and any project specific information that the Distribution Network Service Provider (DNSP) has at hand that may help the connection applicant understand its connection options.
  • The DNSP will respond within 15 business days but may not undertake detailed design or technical analysis of the connection application.
  • The response will provide you with any network constraints prohibiting the connection, any augmentation that may be required to facilitate the connection and what components of work that may be contestable.
  • Included in the response are details about the enquiry application step and the likely fee payable by the applicant for the preparation of a detailed response by the DNSP.
2. Detailed enquiry 
  • Following the receipt of the preliminary response, connection applicants would have more available information to allow them to assess their business case and determine the appropriate next steps.
  • Note an enquiry fee may be required at this stage which concentrates more on the specific network analysis required to assess the applicability of a network connection.
  • For a proposed connection that would not require shared network augmentation, the response time is 30 business days from receipt of a complete application.
  • The response will provide how much embedded generator capacity can be exported and at what voltage, an itemised estimate of the connection cost and the factors affecting those costs.
  • Included in the response are details about the connection application process and the likely fee that will be incurred in applying together with the activities that the DNSP will have to undertake in processing the connection application.
3. Connection application 
  • An application to connect may be lodged following the completion of the detailed enquiry process.
  • Note an application fee may be required at this stage.
  • The DNSP will prepare an offer to connect at a date typically within four months from the date of receipt of the complete application to connect. The offer has a validity period of 20 days.
4. Contracts and agreements 
  • The DNSP uses a negotiated connection contract for any work to extend the distribution assets or remove any network constraint to allow the connection.
  • The connection of the embedded generator uses a generator deed agreement.
  • The contract and agreement contain the terms and conditions between the customer and the DNSP for the service provided.
  • Templates for these documents are provided here:
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