For the majority of consumers the distributor will be the network company or lines company who owns and operates the regional networks of overhead wires and underground cables, but some consumers are supplied from dedicated networks embedded within the regional network.

Distributors have a variety of obligations under Part 12A and Part 6 of the Code. As natural monopolies, they are also subject to information disclosure requirements and, unless they are exempt, default or customised price-quality regulation by the Commerce Commission.

Customised price-quality regulation fact sheet – Commerce Commission website

Guidelines for communications about price changes

In April 2015 the Authority introduced guidance for distributors and retailers on their communications to consumers and the media concerning price changes in order to improve the transparency of consumers’ electricity charges. While the guidelines are voluntary, the Authority encourages distributors to apply them. The Authority will be monitoring the uptake of the guidelines, and a more prescriptive approach will be considered If the Authority continues to have concerns about the nature of industry communications about price changes.

Embedded networks

An embedded network (sometimes also referred to as a secondary network) is an electricity distribution network that is owned by someone other than the local network owner. Consumers within the embedded network will have installation control points (ICPs) allocated and managed by the embedded network owner (or another distributor appointed for that purpose), and the electricity traded is reconciled at the point of connection between the embedded network and the local network. Embedded networks are typically used to serve customers in:

  • some commercial buildings
  • some apartment buildings
  • shopping malls
  • airports.

Guidelines for metering, reconciliation and registry arrangements for embedded networks (or ‘secondary networks’)

To ensure energy purchases and line charges are allocated equitably to participants, the reconciliation of embedded networks must meet the Code requirements. The embedded network guidelines describe the criteria necessary to ensure that this occurs, and it was intended that they be read in conjunction with the Code - which is binding on retailers and distributors, including embedded network owners.