The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to authorise Victoria’s electricity distributors (Powercor, Citipower, Jemena, SPI Electricity and United Energy Distribution) to maintain an accreditation scheme for civil contractors for underground civil works on electrical infrastructure.

The ACCC proposes to grant authorisation for 10 years.

Without authorisation, each Victorian electricity distribution business would be likely to maintain its own separate civil contractor accreditation scheme and registers, resulting in civil contractors being required to meet multiple standards and requirements.

Civil contractors that are not accredited can still perform works for the electricity distribution businesses as long as additional quality and safety checks are performed.

“The ACCC considers that the scheme will continue to result in public benefits including reduced transaction and compliance costs, and the improved quality and safety of works,” ACCC Commissioner Jill Walker said.

These arrangements were previously authorised by the ACCC for five years in 2009.

The ACCC is seeking submissions from interested parties in relation to its draft determination, before making a final decision.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

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