An exemption can provide an industry participant with 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.

About exemptions from the Act

We have the power to grant exemptions from an obligation in a specified part of the Act. (See Section 90 of the Act.)

We can grant an exemption 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 the registered participant, for example a director of a company that is a participant may apply for an exemption.

Part 3 contains provisions that prohibit involvement in both an electricity lines business and an electricity supply business.

How to apply

Here's some information to help understand what constitutes an exemption and how to apply.

What is an exemption?

An exemption provides an industry participant with a release from an obligation in the Code or from an obligation in a specified part of the Act. 

For example, exemptions could be sought from compliance with:

  • a provision of the Code
  • the obligation to register as a participant, under section 10 of the Act
  • the application of, or a provision under, Part 3 of the Act “Separation of distribution from certain generation".

How to apply?

Any industry participant can apply for a Code exemption. Any business, involvement or person can apply for a Part 3 of the Act exemption. Applications must be made well before the exemption is needed.

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

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.

Note, the contents of all exemption 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 exemption 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).

When to apply?

Please apply as early as possible. The process for reviewing, considering and making a decision on an exemption 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 or not
  • 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 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 if your application has been granted or not.
  3. Notice drafted
    If the application is approved, our compliance team prepare the exemption New Zealand Gazette notice.
  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.

Approved exemptions

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

The follow documents include all approved Code exemptions and exemptions under Part 3 of the Act.

Gazette notices

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