Anyone intending to operate electricity infrastructure needs an appropriate electricity authority (licence), unless the infrastructure is to be located wholly on land they own or lease.
Generators need a generation authority, and network service providers need either a transmission or distribution authority to operate in Queensland. If connected to the national grid they will also need to be registered by the Australian Energy Market Operator.
In Queensland, authorities for generation, transmission and distribution are administered by the Department of Energy and Public Works (the Regulator) under the Electricity Act 1994.
Retail authorities are administered at a national level by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
Types of licences
A generation authority allows you to connect a generating plant to a transmission grid or supply network.
Note: If you operate a generating plant with a capacity of 30 megawatts or less, you have a deemed special approval, under section 130 of the Electricity Regulation 2006, to connect the generating plant to a transmission grid or supply network. In this case, you would not need to hold a generation authority but may rely on the special approval given by regulation.
A transmission authority allows you to operate a transmission grid and may also authorise you to connect the transmission grid to another transmission grid.
A distribution authority allows you to supply electricity using a supply network within the distribution area stated in the authority.
A special approval allows you to perform the activities specified in the approval, which may be any of the activities normally authorised by a generation, transmission or distribution authority.
Generally, special approvals are granted in special circumstances when a generation, transmission or distribution authority is not appropriate for the proposed activity.
For example, a special approval may allow the operator of an island resort, which is generating its own electricity and operating its own supply network within the resort, to perform those generation and distribution activities.
Forms and guidance
Applications must be made using the appropriate form.
These guidance documents provide information on when to apply for a new authority, and transferring, amending or surrendering an existing authority:
- Application for a generation authority (DOCX, 87KB)
- Application for a transmission authority (DOCX, 86KB)
- Application for a distribution authority (DOCX, 86KB)
- Application for a special approval (DOCX, 86KB)
- Application to transfer an authority (DOCX, 82KB)
Proforma authorities and special approvals and conditions
Copies of individual authorities and special approvals are generally not published nor made available unless the holder consents. Proformas for each type of authority and special approval are available:
- Proforma generation authority (PDF, 194KB)
- Proforma transmission authority (PDF, 63KB)
- Proforma distribution authority (PDF, 54KB)
- Proforma special approval (PDF, 54KB).
Individual authorities and special approvals may contain different or additional conditions in some cases. Many of the conditions of the authorities and special approvals are set out in the Act and Regulation. Read the Electricity Act 1994 and the Electricity Regulation 2006.
The Regulator is responsible for monitoring compliance with the conditions of authorities and special approvals, and taking disciplinary action where necessary. The disciplinary action that may be taken includes suspension, amendment or cancellation of the authority or special approval and fines.
Electricity licence fees
Licence holders are required to pay an electricity licence fee.
You can find a detailed list of fees payable to the Department of Energy and Public Works in Schedule 7 of the Electricity Regulation 2006.
For information on licensing for electricity generation, transmission and distribution contact:
Department of Energy and Public Works
Phone: 13 43 87 (business hours)
For information on retail licensing, contact the Australian Energy Regulator.