Archive: 2014

1
Australian National Electricity Rules Adopt a More ‘Cost Reflective’ Approach to Network Pricing
2
ACCC v AGL South Australia Pty Ltd [2014] FCA 1369
3
Infocast’s Corporate Energy Sourcing Summit 2015
4
House Tax Extenders Package Would Renew the Wind PTC and Other Energy Provisions
5
Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund Legislation Receives Royal Assent
6
Renewable Energy Tax Incentives At Risk in Lame Duck
7
New South Wales Government passes new laws giving electricity network operators additional powers for bush fire prevention
8
World Bank Publishes New Findings on Doing Business in Africa
9
2014 Election Guide: A Guide to Changes in Congress
10
Australia: NSW State Government announces funding for community owned renewable energy projects

Australian National Electricity Rules Adopt a More ‘Cost Reflective’ Approach to Network Pricing

The National Electricity Amendment (Distribution Network Pricing Arrangements) Rule 2014 No. 9 (Rule Change) came into effect on 1 December 2014, amending the Australian National Electricity Rules (NER) by introducing a more ‘cost reflective’ model for network pricing. Under the new regime, distribution tariffs must comply with several new pricing principles, with the objective that the network prices that a Distribution Network Service Provider (DNSP) charges each consumer should reflect its efficient costs of providing network services to that consumer.

To read the full alert, click here.

ACCC v AGL South Australia Pty Ltd [2014] FCA 1369

The Federal Court of Australia has found that AGL South Australia Pty Ltd (AGL) made false or misleading representations and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct concerning the level of discount residential consumers would receive under AGL’s energy plans.

The Court held that consumers who commenced an energy plan with AGL between January and mid-July 2012 would have understood through telephone conversations with AGL Customer Service Representatives that they would receive a discount calculated by reference to the rates which would otherwise have applied to them if they had not entered into the energy plan. Although they initially received the discount, in mid-2012 AGL increased the rates under its energy plans and sent a letter to these consumers advising them of their new rates, stating that they would continue to receive their discount.

Justice White held that this was false and misleading as following the rate increase, these rates were actually higher than those AGL applied to similar consumers who had subsequently commenced an energy plan post-July 2012. As such, AGL’s conduct “reduced the benefits of the discounts represented to the consumers when they agreed on their energy plan”.

 

If you would like to read more about this case, please click here.

Infocast’s Corporate Energy Sourcing Summit 2015

12-14 January 2015
The Westgate Hotel
San Diego, CA

Presenters: William H. Holmes, Paul C. Lacourciere

K&L Gates is a Platinum Sponsor at Infocast’s Corporate Energy Sourcing Summit 2015, with partner Bill Holmes leading the Summit as Chair. This event focuses on the latest intelligence on financing, business cases, risk, sourcing & sustainability from the leading market players, while evaluating business cases for new strategies and solutions including on & off-site renewables, demand response, efficiency, fuel cells and energy storage. The Summit will be a source of actionable strategies and insights from peers in other sectors including bigbox/retail, manufacturing, data centers, real estate, airports, and universities. The Summit will offer up numerous opportunities to meet key dealmakers, learn about their plans for the upcoming year, and capitalize on new prospects that will lead to successful deals.

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House Tax Extenders Package Would Renew the Wind PTC and Other Energy Provisions

Congress is poised to enact a one-year retroactive tax extenders package that would renew a variety of tax incentives—including the production tax credit (PTC) for wind—through the end of 2014. On Wednesday, December 3, the House passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771) by a vote of 378-46, sending the bill to the Senate for its consideration before the end of the Lame Duck session. Read More

Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund Legislation Receives Royal Assent

On 25 November 2014 the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Act 2014, which puts in place the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), received Royal Assent and is now law. The ERF is the cornerstone of the Australian Government’s Direct Action Plan climate change policy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It will provide $2.55 billion in financial incentives over four years for companies to voluntarily reduce emissions. The Government says its Direct Action Plan climate change policy will mean that Australia will meet the 5 percent emissions reduction target by 2020.

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New South Wales Government passes new laws giving electricity network operators additional powers for bush fire prevention

The New South Wales parliament has recently passed an act amending the Electricity Supply Act 1995 (NSW) to give special powers to electricity network operators in relation to bush fire prevention on bush fire prone land that is privately owned.

The Electricity Supply Amendment (Bushfire Hazard Reduction) Act 2014 (Amendment Act) provides that a network operator may give the owner or occupier of privately owned bush fire prone land a written direction requiring the owner or occupier to carry out bush fire risk mitigation work on vegetation or aerial consumer mains (being privately owned powerlines) on the land in several circumstances, including where the network operator has determined that the vegetation could make the network operator’s electricity works or aerial consumer mains become a potential cause of bush fire or where a fault in the aerial consumer mains could make them become a potential cause of bush fire. 

A landowner will have 30 days to respond to a direction and must complete the required work within 60 days after the direction is given.  Network operators are authorised to enter premises and do the required work if an owner fails to comply with a direction.

Significantly, directions given under the new provisions override requirements under other legislation to obtain a consent or authorisation prior to carrying out certain work (including clearing vegetation) as the Amendment Act specifically provides that work required to be done under a direction will not require development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) or an approval or consent under certain other legislation, including the Native Vegetation Act 2003 (NSW).

The Amendment Act also addresses responsibility for the costs of complying with a direction – which will be the responsibility of the landowner in some circumstances and the network operator in others.

World Bank Publishes New Findings on Doing Business in Africa

President Obama’s Power Africa Plan, ongoing energy procurements and other developments have made Africa an increasingly attractive market for developers of energy projects.  For energy companies that are doing business in Africa or are considering developing a project in an African country, the latest K&L Gates Africa Legal Insight offers a review of the World Bank’s new findings on the subject. Read More

2014 Election Guide: A Guide to Changes in Congress

Riding a wave of voter discontent, Republicans in the mid-term election took control of the U.S. Senate and increased their majority in the House.  The results offer an opportunity for collaboration between the Congress and the Obama Administration, and to restart the legislative process.

To help you assess yesterday’s election, K&L Gates has prepared a comprehensive guide that summarizes the results and their impact on the 114th Congress, which will convene in January. The Election Guide lists all new members elected to Congress, updates the congressional delegations for each state, and provides a starting point for assessing the coming changes to the House and Senate committees.

Please click here to download the most up-to-date version of the 130 page Election Guide, which will be updated on an ongoing basis as more of the close races are called and committees are finalized. For additional information regarding the effects of the recent elections, please contact Tim Peckinpaugh or any member of the Public Policy and Law practice.

To view the complete guide online, click here.

Additional Resources

Further insights on the implications of the mid-term elections can be found in two recent webinars featuring members of the K&L Gates policy team. See the links below.

Election 2014: Its Impact on Federal Policy-Making in 2015

Australia: NSW State Government announces funding for community owned renewable energy projects

In Australia, the New South Wales State Government recently announced that it would make funding available for community owned renewable energy projects by way of Government grants known as Growing Community Energy Grants. A total of up to $AUD700,000 has been allocated for these grants.

The Growing Community Energy Grants are designed to support and assist community renewable energy projects or community energy efficiency projects in their early stages by minimising the initial administrative costs often associated with such projects. Accordingly, any funding awarded to a project may be used only for the project development stage (including social and technical feasibility studies, planning, securing host sites and engaging with local communities) and not for capital expenditure, construction or operational costs.

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