EWOV is an independent, free dispute resolution service that can consider complaints about energy companies that are participants of its scheme. This includes complaints from landholders about the way an energy company has exercised its statutory rights in relation that land, or property neighbouring that land.
New Land Access Code of Practice for access to private land by companies
Like the rest of Australia, Victoria is undergoing a transition to renewable energy. This requires new transmission infrastructure to transport energy from the new areas of generation. To complete these projects, an energy company may need to access private property to:
- conduct planning and investigations, such as land surveys
- construct the infrastructure, and
- operate and maintain the infrastructure, once built.
Some energy companies can access private property either through:
- a voluntary agreement between an energy company and a landholder, or
- by exercising legislative powers to access land in certain circumstances (statutory rights).
What is changing?
The Victorian Essential Services Commission has released a Land Access Code of Practice (the Code) which comes into effect on 1 March 2024. The Code sets out rules and processes that companies must following when accessing, or seeking to access, private land. This means that some energy companies must follow the Code if seeking to exercise their statutory rights to access private land.
The Code aims to balance the right of companies to access private land to provide essential services with landholder rights. It includes requirements regarding:
- Communication and engagement, aimed at improving consultation between energy companies and landholder
- Notices and information regarding statutory access, including information that energy companies must provide to landholders
- Obligations which must be followed when private land is being accessed, such as risk minimisation, biosecurity control, fire and health risk management.
The Code names EWOV as the independent dispute resolution organisation responsible for receiving complaints in relation to compliance with the Code.
What if I’m being asked to enter into a voluntary agreement?
If you are involved in negotiating a voluntary agreement for access to your land – consider ensuring EWOV is named as an option for dispute resolution. That way, if things don’t go to plan, you’ll have access to an independent dispute resolution service without any additional cost. There is no need to be represented by lawyers if you lodge a complaint with EWOV.
How can EWOV help?
If you have a complaint in relation to access to your land and you are unable to resolve it with the energy company, you can lodge a dispute with EWOV by calling 1800 500 509 or by clicking here to start a complaint. EWOV will then assess whether it can assist and if so, will work to resolve your dispute as quickly as possible.