General news

The Rulings Panel: the arbiters of the Electricity Industry Participation Code

  • Code
  • Compliance

In New Zealand's electricity industry, the Rulings Panel is an independent body, helping enforce the Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010 (Code).

Committed to transparency, fairness and accountability, it addresses complaints of Code breaches and appeals from certain Electricity Authority Te Mana Hiko decisions, playing a vital role in the sector. It can also assist industry participants with the resolution of certain disputes.

The Rulings Panel's operations are funded by the Authority, which recovers the associated costs from industry participants through levies.

Why does the Rulings Panel exist?

The Rulings Panel plays a crucial role in upholding the Code by:

  1. Determining Code breach complaints: The Rulings Panel hears and decides on complaints concerning alleged breaches of the Code. When a complaint is upheld, the Panel may take various actions, including imposing penalties, issuing warnings or reprimands, awarding costs or compensation, and making compliance orders.
  2. Hearing appeals: The Code provides for appeals to the Rulings Panel in cases related to information disclosure, common quality, and distributor agreements and arrangements. The Panel has the authority to make determinations, orders, or directions, subject to relevant regulations or Code provisions.
  3. Resolving disputes: The Rulings Panel can be used to resolve two types of disputes; those related to information submission for reconciliation under Part 15 of the Code, and disputes referred by agreement for determination.

All its decisions are published on the Rulings Panel website and the Authority’s website.

How the Rulings Panel operates

The Electricity Industry Act 2010 and the Electricity Industry (Enforcement) Regulations provide procedures that the Panel must follow. Under the Act, the Rulings Panel can also develop its own procedures, provided they are consistent with the Act and Regulations.

How to raise a case with the Rulings Panel

Before being referred to the Rulings Panel, complaints and appeals must progress through the compliance processes in the Act and the Electricity Industry (Enforcement) Regulations. Disputes can be referred directly to the Panel. For further information refer to the Rulings Panel website or contact the Panel at registrar@electricityrulingspanel.nz.

Challenging a Rulings Panel decision

Participants have the right to appeal certain orders made by the Rulings Panel to the High Court. These include orders for public warnings or reprimands, pecuniary penalties, compensation, compliance, costs, or those identified in the regulations or Code as appealable orders. Suspension and termination orders can also be challenged.

Who is on the Rulings Panel?

The Rulings Panel is comprised of up to five members, appointed by the Governor-General. These appointments are made following recommendations from the Minister of Energy and Resources, in consultation with the Minister of Justice and the Electricity Authority.

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