Exemptions and dispensations

An exemption or dispensation can provide a release from an obligation in the Code or from a specified part of the Act.

About exemptions from the Code

We may grant an industry participant with an individual exemption from the Code, if we are satisfied that:

  • it is not necessary, for the purpose of achieving the Electricity Authority’s objectives under section 15, for the participant to comply with the Code or the specific provisions of the Code; or
  • exempting the participant from the requirement to comply with the Code or the specific provisions of the Code would better achieve the Electricity Authority’s objectives than requiring compliance.

All exemptions are assessed on an individual case by case basis by our Compliance Committee/Board. We have the power to grant exemptions to the Code on any terms or conditions that we consider are reasonably necessary. (See Section 11 of the Act.)

Note that exemptions cannot be backdated, nor can they excuse a breach of the Code. Industry participants need to ensure they can comply with their obligations, if their application is declined. If an application is approved, it does not create a precedent for future applications.

Only industry participants can apply for an exemption from the Code. Specified persons who are subject to Part 6A of the Code can apply for a Part 6A dispensation.

About exemptions from the Act

Part 3 of the Act contains a provision that prohibits a person who is involved in a distributor from being involved in certain generators.

We have the power to grant exemptions from Part 3 of the Act. (See Section 90 of the Act.) We can grant an exemption from Part 3 of the Act if we are satisfied that the:

  • proposed prohibited involvement will either promote, or will not inhibit, competition in the industry; and
  • the exemption will not permit an involvement in a distributor and a generator that may create incentives and opportunities to inhibit competition in the electricity industry.

Any business, involvement or person can apply for an exemption from Part 3 of the Act. You do not have to be a registered participant, for example a director of a company that is a participant may apply for an exemption.

About Part 6A dispensations

Part 6A of the Code contains provisions that relate to the separation of distribution from certain generation and retailing. Part 6A applies to industry participants and specified persons. A specified person is a person (other than an industry participant) who is involved in both classes of industry participant that are the subject of any provisions in Part 6A of the Code (see section 32 of the Act).

An industry participant can apply for an exemption from Part 6A of the Code. A specified person can apply for a Part 6A dispensation instead of an exemption (see clause 6A.9 of the Code). We may grant a Part 6A dispensation in respect of Part 6A or any provisions of that Part if we are satisfied that:

  • it is not necessary, for the purpose of achieving the Electricity Authority’s objectives under section 15 of the Act, for the specified person to comply with Part 6A or the specific provisions of that Part; or
  • granting a Part 6A dispensation in respect of the specified person would better achieve the Authority’s objectives than requiring compliance.

All applications for a Part 6A dispensation are assessed on an individual case by case basis by our Compliance Committee/Board. The Electricity Authority may grant a Part 6A dispensation on any terms or conditions that it reasonably considers necessary.

How to apply

Here's some information to help understand the process for applying for exemptions and dispensations.

How to apply?

Code exemptions

Any industry participant can apply for a Code exemption. Any business, involvement or person can apply for an exemption from Part 3 of the Act. A specified person can apply for a dispensation from Part 6A of the Code.

Applications must be made well before the exemption or dispensation is needed. Contact compliance@ea.govt.nz to discuss possible timeframes.

For exemptions from the Code, complete and return the following application form, providing as much information as possible.

Exemption from Part 3 of the Act

For an exemption from Part 3 of the Act, the business, involvement or person that requires the exemption needs to apply to us in writing. You can do this in a letter explaining why the exemption is needed and what measures have been put in place to meet the intention of the Act (if any). Please send the letter to compliance@ea.govt.nz.

Dispensation from Part 6A of the Code

For a dispensation from Part 6A of the Code, the specified person that requires the dispensation needs to apply to us in writing. You can do this in a letter explaining why the dispensation is needed and what impact granting the dispensation would have on the Electricity Authority’s ability to achieve its statutory objectives under section 15 of the Act. Please send the letter to compliance@ea.govt.nz.

Note

Note, the contents of all applications are subject to the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 2020. If a request is received under those Acts for information contained in an application, we are required to consider release of the application, in whole or in part, in terms of the criteria set out in these Acts.

When providing an application, please advise compliance@ea.govt.nz if you have any objection to the release of:

  • any information contained in your application and, if you do object, the parts of your application you would wish withheld, and the grounds for withholding
  • any information contained in your application to market operation service providers and the reasons for those objections (as information will be discussed with the market operation service providers, as appropriate).

What if I need more than one type?

If more than one type of exemption or dispensation is required, these can be applied for at the same time. For example, you can apply for a combination of Code exemption, exemption from Part 3 of the Act, and/or a dispensation from Part 6A of the Code.

When to apply?

Please apply as early as possible. If you don't submit your application within a suitable timeframe, there is no guarantee that your application will be considered by the Compliance Committee/Board at its next meeting. Contact compliance@ea.govt.nz before submitting your application to discuss possible timeframes.

The process for reviewing, considering and making a decision on an application can take a significant amount of time. For example, the time it takes to review and process applications depends on whether:

  • the information provided is complete
  • the requested exemption impacts other industry participants
  • complex Code or Act provisions need to be assessed
  • any cost estimates to resolve have supporting information
  • when the Compliance Committee/Board will next meet.

It takes us, on average, two to four months to consider an application. We decide the outcome of applications approximately four times a year. When we receive an application, we will advise you when we expect our Compliance Committee/Board will consider your application.

What if an exemption is urgent?

If your exemption is required urgently, email compliance@ea.govt.nz with your reasons and a timeframe within which:

  • a decision is requested
  • any exemption granted needs to be Gazetted.

We will endeavour to prioritise your application, but there is no guarantee.

Is a lawyer required?

Your application may involve issues about the interpretation and application of the law. Where these kinds of complexities arise, we recommend that you seek legal advice.

If the reasons underlying your application are practical, then legal advice may not be necessary.

What is the process?

We have the following process for exemption and dispensation applications:

  1. Application considered
    Your application is considered by our compliance team, who may seek additional clarification from you. They will prepare and finalise a recommendation for our Compliance Committee/Board.
  2. Consideration by our Compliance Committee and/or Board
    The recommendation is considered by the Compliance Committee. If they consider the exemption to be significant, they will refer it to our Board.
    We will contact you as soon as we know whether your application has been granted or not.
  3. Notice drafted
    If the application is for an exemption and it is approved, our compliance team prepare the exemption New Zealand Gazette notice.
    This step and step 4 do not apply to Part 6A dispensations. Approved Part 6A dispensations will instead be published on this page.
  4. Notice published
    The approved exemption notice is published in the New Zealand Gazette. The exemption does not come into force until at least the day after it has been published in the New Zealand Gazette.

Exemption from registration for select participants

The following two classes of industry participants are exempt from having to register as industry participants:

  • owners of distributed generation with less than 100 kWh of nameplate capacity connected to a distribution network
  • metering equipment owners who are consumers of electricity at the ICP and who own metering equipment only for the purpose of measuring electricity at the ICP.

View Electricity (Exemptions from Registration) Regulations 2022

Exemptions for a multiple trading trial

We approved two exemptions in July 2023 and a Code amendment to enable an energy sharing trial led by Kāinga Ora and Ara Ake. We see this trial as an opportunity to assess and learn more about energy sharing using multiple trading relationships alongside industry.

About the multiple trading trial

Approved exemptions and dispensations

If an exemption is granted, a notice must be published in the New Zealand Gazette.

The following documents include all approved Code exemptions, exemptions under Part 3 of the Act and Part 6A dispensations.

Gazette notices

If we grant an exemption, we publish a notice in the New Zealand Gazette. Here are the latest notices: