Embedded networks

The rules about embedded networks have changed, and Victorian embedded networks are now required to join EWOV.

Apply to join now

What is an embedded network?

While most Victorian customers buy their electricity from a licensed energy retailer, some customers buy from an embedded network − also known as an 'exempt seller' or 'on-seller'.

An embedded network is a private electricity network that supplies homes or businesses within a specific area – such as an apartment building, shopping centre, caravan park or retirement village. Embedded networks are connected to the wider electricity network. Usually, the embedded network operator buys electricity in bulk from this connection, and then on-sells it to customers inside the embedded network, though there may be other arrangements too.

infographic illustrating embedded networks

What has changed?

Because of their small number, embedded networks in Victoria have been exempt from the usual requirement to have an energy retail licence – hence the term 'exempt seller'. Until now, all exemptions have been ‘deemed’. That is, exemptions were automatic, and embedded networks did not have to apply or register for them.

The Victorian government decided that most embedded network suppliers and sellers will now need to register with the Essential Services Commission for a network and/or retail exemption by 31 May 2018. Some exemptions will continue to be deemed.

The government also decided that embedded network customers should have clear consumer protections and access to a free and independent dispute resolution service to help resolve disputes about their electricity supply. To make this possible, the government legislated that all embedded networks must join EWOV by 1 July 2018.

Who needs to join?

If you supply or sell electricity in an embedded network in Victoria under a retail or network exemption, you are required to join EWOV. The exemptions and who they apply to are set out in Part 2 of the General Exemption Order 2017.

The entity that is required to join EWOV is the entity that supplies or sells energy to customers on an exempt network. However, the membership can be managed administratively by that entity’s parent company or billing agent (provided that it has a centralised complaints function). If you are joining EWOV on behalf of an exempt network or exempt seller, you will need to provide EWOV with a signed copy of your Deed of Appointment [DOC, 138 KB] with the network or seller.

If you are unclear about whether you are required to join EWOV, contact our Member Liaison Officer on 03 8672 4216.

How do I join?

To apply for membership, complete our simple online application form.

You will receive an email confirming that your application has been received.

In the meantime, our Member Liaison Officer can help if you have any questions or concerns. Call 03 8672 4269, or email membership@ewov.com.au.

What will it cost?

EWOV is an industry-based scheme funded by its members. New embedded network members joining EWOV will pay two levies:

  • Annual Levy – a fixed annual membership fee

  • Start-up Levy – a one-off levy will recover the costs of expanding EWOV to incorporate embedded networks.

The amount of each levy depends on how many customers you have:

Customers Annual Levy Start-up Levy
<100 $100 $270
100 to 500 $350 $960
>500 $1,000 $2,700

Once you are an EWOV member, you will also be charged case-based fees for any complaints EWOV receives from your customers.

I’m a customer. How do I make a complaint about an embedded network?

EWOV began accepting complaints from embedded network customers in July 2018.

Before July 2018, if you had a problem with an embedded network that you couldn't resolve, you needed to contact Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.