Quick Launch

Utilities Commission > Newsroom
October 19
2016-17 Utilities Commission Annual Report

​​The 2016-17 Utilities Commission Annual Report is now available to download.

August 28
Changes to Tariffs for Prescribed Services for the Port of Darwin

The private port operator, Darwin Port Operations Pty Ltd (DPO) sets tariffs for the standard charges for prescribed services that it provides to port users. Prescribed services include: providing access for vessels to the port, supplying berths, providing amenities for loading and unloading of vessels, pilotage services, and allowing entry of persons and vehicles to any land which port facilities are located. It does not include storage, stevedoring and the Marine Supply Base.  

Under the regime, DPO must provide 20 days’ notice to the Commission about any proposed changes to tariffs. DPO is also required to publish an amended price list on its website 10 days before the amended tariffs take effect.   

On 11 July 2017, DPO notified the Commission that it intended to increase a number of its tariffs for prescribed services, as well as introducing a new tariff for large vessels using the Bladin Channel. The amended tariffs commenced on 1 August 2017 and are available on DPO’s website under Port Tariffs. DPO has met its obligations pursuant to the Ports Management Regulations and Price Determination, as it has provided 20 days’ notice to the Commission and approximately one month’s notice to stakeholders.

When performing its price monitoring function, the Commission may use benchmarking or annual price increases linked to an indexation factor. While a number of different indexes were considered by the Commission, the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) is generally preferred by regulators. It is appropriate to use either Darwin, or the eight capital cities CPI. Generally regional and national CPIs are relatively close, but for the period from March 2016 to March 2017, Darwin’s CPI rose by 0.5% compared to a national increase of 2.1%.  

In general, on 1 August 2017, the majority of the charges for prescribed services for standard services for the Port of Darwin rose by 1.1%. This is between Darwin’s and the national CPI increases discussed above. This is the first time DPO has increased its tariffs since becoming the private port operator in late 2015.

The Bulk Liquid Fuels Inbound Wharfage tariff rose by 3.6%. DPO has informed the Commission that the reason for this higher increase was so that DPO receive an acceptable rate of return for the Bulk Liquids Fuel Berth infrastructure upgrades that it has undertaken.

DPO has introduced a new tariff, the Bladin Channel Port Dues Levy. This tariff is for vessels larger than 20,000 gross tonne accessing the Bladin Channel. DPO has advised the Commission that the purpose of the new tariff is to provide a recovery mechanism for investment in pilotage, harbour control and management facilities to support the safe management of large vessel traffic. Large vessel traffic is expected to increase once INPEX starts operation in late 2017.

The Commission will be undertaking a review of the access and pricing regime for the Port of Darwin which will commence later this year. If you would like to be involved in this review, please let the Commission know so that you can be added to the Ports Review Communications List. The Commission can be contacted on (08) 8999 5480 or utilities.commission@nt.gov.au.

August 25
Trade Waste Code

​On 6 July 2017, the Power and Water Corporation (PWC) provided its final revised Trade Waste Code to the Commission for approval in accordance with section 83(4) of the Water Supply and Sewerage Services Act.

The Commission is satisfied the revised Trade Waste Code satisfies the requirements of the Act and provides appropriate procedures for the management of trade waste, consistent with good industry practice and nationally accepted standards.

In August 2017 the Commission approved the revised Trade Water Code.

For more information, see Water and Sewerage, Technical Codes.

July 27
Proposed Code: Request for submissions on Guaranteed Service level and Electricity Standards of Service Codes

​The Utilities Commission has released a proposed code, updating the Guaranteed Service level (GSL) and Electricity Standards of Service (ESS) Codes.  The new Code merges the two Codes together, as there are a number of shared concepts and definitions. The proposed name of the consolidated code is the Electricity Industry Performance Code (Standards of Service and Guaranteed Service Levels).

Submissions are due by 16 August 2017.

The ESS and GSL Codes have been in existence for over five years. The ESS Code establishes reporting requirements for electricity licence holders, including network entities, retailers and generators.  Additionally, it establishes the process that network entities must follow when setting targets for service standards. The GSL Code establishes the guaranteed service level scheme, which sets minimum standards of customer service that network entities (network licence holders) have to achieve. If a network entity breaches this minimum level of service then the network entity has to make payments to customers.

The Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory (Commission) is reviewing the ESS Code and the GSL Code as it is obliged to ensure codes are relevant and effective. Clause 5 of the GSL Code specifically requires the performance indicators, GSLs and GSL payment amounts specified in clause 2.1.4 of that Code to be reviewed prior to the beginning of each regulatory control period applicable to the networks business of PWC. 

PWC Network’s regulatory proposal concerning revenue requirements for the five year regulatory control period beginning July 2019 is due to be submitted to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) by February 2018. The Commission is seeking to complete this review of the ESS and GSL Codes by mid-2017 to assist with PWC’s preparation of its submission to the AER. Amended Codes are expected to commence in the third quarter of 2017.

In early 2017 the Commission released a Request for Submissions outlining the issues and inviting stakeholders to provide comment and proposals on the Codes by 24 March 2017.

The Commission is focused on updating the performance measures and reporting requirements to be consistent with national requirements and to reduce administrative obligations on licence holders to a minimum. 

Next steps

Submissions are being sought on the proposed code from interested stakeholders. Following consultation, Commission staff will revise the Code and seek final approval from the Commission. Once approved, the Code will be implemented and published. Submissions or queries should be forwarded to the Commission at the following:

Email

utilities.commission@nt.gov.au

Address

Charles Darwin Centre
19 The Mall Darwin
GPO Box 915, Darwin, NT 0801

Phone

(08) 8999 5480

All submissions should be sent by 5.00 pm (CST) Wednesday 16 August 2017 and clearly indicate any confidential information. A version suitable for publication with confidential information removed should be provided to the Commission. 

Further information is available on the Electricity Performance section of this website.

Statement of Reasons, Proposed Amendments to the Electricity Standards of Service Code and Guaranteed Service Level Code

Proposed Code (PLEASE NOTE: Turn on Track Changes in Microsoft Word to view where changes have been made. Select Review - Show Comments and All Markup)

Current ESS Code

Current GSL Code

Proposed Feeder Guidelines

Current Feeder Guidelines

GSL payments (CPI) July 2017

July 14
Power System Review 2015-16

​The Utilities Commission (the Commission) has released the 2015-16 Power System Review. On an annual basis, the Commission is required by the Electricity Reform Act to prepare a Power System Review that reports on power system performance and capacity for the Darwin-Katherine, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek power systems.

For this review and in accordance with the requirements of s45 of the Electricity Reform Act, the Commission focuses on:

• Forecasts of demand and supply adequacy

• Fuel supply

• Performance of the power system

• Advice on electricity industry and market policy matters

The Commission received assistance from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in developing forecasts. The methodology used by EMO is consistent with that used in the National Electricity Market contained in AEMO’s Forecasting Methodology Information Paper.

The Commission has also published a summary of key findings from the Power System Review.

2015-16 Power System Review

2015-16 Power System Review: Summary of Key Findings

July 04
Access Policy Approved and Final Decision Released

​In late 2015 the Northern Territory Government leased the Port of Darwin to a private port operator. As part of this lease arrangement, the Government introduced a regulatory regime that requires the private port operator to establish an Access Policy.

Since 2016, the Commission has been working with the private port operator and stakeholders on the proposed Access Policy. The Commission recently published a Draft Access Policy and Draft Decision for final comment. After consideration of stakeholder comments and minor revisions, the Commission approved the Access Policy and published its Final Decision on 30 June 2017. 

June 09
Submissions received on the Electricity Retail Supply Code Positions Paper

​On 5 May 2017, the Utilities Commission released its Positions Paper on proposed amendments to the Electricity Retail Supply Code made by Power and Water Corporation in May 2016 and sought submissions from interested stakeholders.

The Commission has received two submissions.

• Jacana Energy

• Power and Water Corporation

Any queries should be forwarded to the Commission at the following:

Charles Darwin Centre
19 The Mall Darwin
GPO Box 915, Darwin, NT 0801
Phone: (08) 8999 5480
Email: utilities.commission@nt.gov.au

Further information is available on the Electricity Retail Supply Code section of this website.

May 24
Consultation – Port of Darwin Final Draft Access Policy, Draft Decision and Draft Reporting Guidelines

In late 2015, the Northern Territory Government leased the Port of Darwin to a private port operator. As part of this lease arrangement, the Government introduced a regulatory regime that requires the private port operator to establish an access policy.

In 2016, consultation with stakeholders occurred on two versions of the draft access policy. The private port operator and the Commission have considered the submissions and now publish the Final Draft Access Policy and Draft Decision for final comment.

Additionally, each year the private port operator is required report to the Commission on its compliance with the access policy. To assist this process the Commission has released Draft Reporting Guidelines and seeks comment from stakeholders.

The Final Draft Access Policy and Draft Decision are available on the Ports Access Regulation webpage under Access Policy.

The Draft Reporting Guidelines are available on the Ports Access Regulation webpage under Access Reporting Guidelines.  

Submissions are due by 9 June 2017.

For further information, please contact the Utilities Commission by email utilities.commission@nt.gov.au or telephone (08) 8999 5480.

May 05
Proposed amendments to the Electricity Retail Supply Code Positions Paper

​The Utilities Commission has released its Positions Paper on proposed amendments to the Electricity Retail Supply Code made by Power and Water Corporation in May 2016. In July 2016, the Commission released a Consultation Paper and received several submissions from interested stakeholders.

Next steps

Submissions are being sought on this Positions Paper from interested stakeholders. The Commission intends to release an amended draft code and statement of reasons on 9 June 2017 for comment. A final decision to amend the Code, including the issuing of a varied Code, will be made by 23 June 2017. Submissions or queries should be forwarded to the Commission at the following:

Charles Darwin Centre
19 The Mall Darwin
GPO Box 915, Darwin, NT 0801
Phone: (08) 8999 5480
Email: utilities.commission@nt.gov.au

All submissions should be sent by 5.00 pm Friday 26 May 2017 and clearly indicate any confidential information. A version suitable for publication with confidential information removed should be provided to the Commission. 

Further information is available on the Electricity Retail Supply Code section of this website.

Amendments to the Electricity Retail Supply Code: Positions Paper May 2017

March 15
Review of Power and Water Corporation’s Compliance with the 2014 Network Price Determination

​In February 2016, the Commission was made aware through discussions with Jacana Energy of a possible breach by Power and Water Corporation (PWC) of the 2014 Network Price Determination (NPD) in relation to standard network connections. PWC wrote to the Commission in March 2016 and advised that it had “breached the parameters of the 2014 NPD”.

The 2014 NPD is the Commission’s final determination made under clause 66 of the Network Access Code in relation to the maximum allowed revenue that PWC can recover from the provision of regulated network access services during the 2014-19 regulatory control period.

The NPD breach added to existing concerns of the Commission in relation to PWC’s compliance framework. As a result of the Commission’s concerns, the Commission appointed an external auditor in accordance with clause 11.4 of PWC’s network licence to review PWC’s compliance with its network licence and the breach of the 2014 NPD.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia was engaged for the purposes of assessing, in combination with other information obtained by the Commission, the current compliance processes at PWC. The Commission’s report provides the Commission’s conclusions in relation to PWC’s compliance with the 2014 NPD and PWC’s identification and reporting of compliance breaches.

Based on the findings from the PwC Australia report and previous audits undertaken by the Commission, the Commission considers that PWC has breached clause 11.1 of its networks licence. The Commission considers that PWC has also breached the Compliance Framework and Reporting Guidelines.  The Commission considers the breach needs to be addressed by PWC as a priority.

The Commission will continue to monitor PWC’s compliance through regular audit and review and will continue to work with PWC to ensure that it complies with its regulatory obligations. The Commission will consider exercising its enforcement powers if the actions and behaviour of PWC towards regulatory compliance are not addressed within a reasonable period.

Review of PWC Compliance with 2014 NPD (docx, 929 kb)

Review of PWC Compliance with 2014 NPD (pdf, 357 kb)

Appendix A – PWC Specified Procedures Undertaken (pdf, 732 kb)

Any questions regarding this report should be directed to the Utilities Commission:

Email: utilities.commission@nt.gov.au

Telephone: +61 8 8999 5480

Mail: Utilities Commission
GPO Box 915
DARWIN NT 0801

 

1 - 10Next