Under the Electricity Act 1994, the Regulator (the Director-General of the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy) issues authorities (licences) for generation, transmission and distribution activities in Queensland's electricity industry.
If you apply for a licence to connect a generating plant to a transmission grid or supply network, transmit, or distribute, the Regulator must invite interested persons to make a submission about the application before issuing the authority.
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 fewer, you have 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.
Distribution authorities currently held in Queensland
As of 1 July 2015 and the commencement of the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF), all retail authorities are administered at a national level by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). Further information and details can be found on the AER website.
A special approval allows you to perform the activities specified in the authority, which may be any of the activities normally authorised by a generation, transmission or distribution authority.
Generally, special approvals are granted when special circumstances apply such that authorisation of the activities by a generation, transmission or distribution authority, as the case may be, is not appropriate. 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.
Application process for an authority or special approval
In deciding whether to issue an authority or special approval, the Act requires the Regulator to consider a set of clearly defined criteria and, in most cases, to conduct a public consultation process about the application.
Please ensure you submit all necessary information with your application. Due to public consultation requirements and the high volume of applications we receive, it may take at least 4 months until you are advised of an outcome.
The following guidelines on the form and content of applications are available to help you apply:
- application guidelines for generation authority (PDF, 109KB)
- application guidelines for special approval (PDF, 95KB)
- application guidelines for amendment of authority/special approval (PDF, 88KB)
- application guidelines for transfer of authority/special approval (PDF, 110KB) .
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
If a licence has been issued, the licence holder is required to pay an annual fee to the Regulator.
Read our guide on electricity licence fees.
You can find a detailed list of fees payable to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy in Schedule 7 of the Electricity Regulation 2006.
Contact details for electricity generation, transmission and distribution licensing
Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
Phone: 13 43 87