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NECA calls on NSW government to bring back a contestable works code

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The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) has called for the NSW government to reintroduce a code to protect accredited service providers (ASP) in NSW.

NECA claims ASPs in NSW are being left to fend for themselves in dealing with the electricity distributors and have no way to seek compensation against Distributed Network Service Providers (DNSP) if they are unable to connect customers due to circumstances that were easily foreseeable by DNSPs.

“One of the main problems faced by ASPs is that there is no contractual nexus between the ASP and DNSP, meaning ASP have no course of redress against DNSPs when they suffer loss as a result of their negligence,” says NECA chief executive Suresh Manickam.

The contestable works scheme in NSW gives customers the ability to choose which ASP connects them to the electricity supply, serving to reduce costs and time delays for NSW consumers being connected to the power grid.

NECA is advocating for the NSW government to re-establish a code for contestable works, similar to the Code of Practice for Contestable Works, which lapsed due to regulation sunsetting and was not renewed or replaced.

“The Australian Electricity Regulator (AER) recommended in 2010 that financial penalties be set in place for Distributors failing to achieve agreed timeframes for design certification and inspection of connection delays,” says Suresh.

“It also recommended that obligations be placed on Distributors as part of their licensing regime. So although these issues have been well known for some time, the NSW government allowed the Code of Practice for Contestable Works to lapse without any consultation.”

NECA says the re-introduction of a code will also result in a reduction in unnecessary costs and delays which are passed onto consumers in NSW, who are already suffering from cost of living pressures such as significant power price rises.

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