The AEMC's final rule on embedded networks and customer access to the National Electricity Market comes into force on 1 December 2017.
An embedded network is a private electricity network that serves multiple customers, through a parent connection to the grid (think shopping centre the centre owner runs the embedded network and each shop is a customer). Customers on embedded networks can find it difficult to buy electricity from anyone other than the embedded network's operator. So there is a barrier to participation in the competitive retail market.
The rule creates a new role: the "embedded network manager". The ENM's purpose is to link customers to the retail market. They do this by helping customers register their meter on the wholesale market system. The result is customers have the power to choose which electricity retailer they use.
Everyone who operates an embedded network in the National Electricity Market requires a network exemption. However, only some network exemption holders will require an ENM. The AER has put together a handy online tool to determine who requires an ENM, and when.
While the rule comes in on 1 December, there is a transitional period up to 31 March 2018. During this time if embedded network operators can demonstrate they are taking steps to appoint an ENM, the AER will not actively pursue enforcement.