The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has established a Regulatory Sandboxing function that aims to help energy innovators and start-ups navigate complex regulatory frameworks and enable the trial of new products and services that delivers greater choice and cheaper energy options for consumers. The AER will deliver regulatory sandboxing alongside the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and Victoria’s Essential Services Commission (ESCV).
The sandbox toolkit includes the Innovation Enquiry Service (IES), which will provide innovators with informal guidance on how a new technology, service or business model can be delivered under current regulation. The sandbox toolkit also includes a regulatory waiver power for the AER and a trial rule change process for the AEMC, which will allow for both temporary exemptions from existing rules and for time-limited new rules to be created so that innovative trials can go ahead.
To provide guidance on how the AER will assess trial waiver applications and carry out our other functions in relation to trial projects, the AER has developed the Trial Projects Guidelines and explanatory statement. On 25 January 2023 the AER published its final Trial Projects Guidelines and Explanatory Statement.
Applications for trial waivers, trial rule changes, and for guidance through the Innovation Enquiry Service are now open. All applications must be made through the Energy Innovation Toolkit website Services page (the Energy Innovation Toolkit is the new name for this function), which links to the secure AER web portal.