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Governance and the commission

Our commissioners, committees and governance.

Governance – the Commission

On 1 January 2021, Energy Safe Victoria became the Victorian Energy Safety Commission (VESC), the Commission, however, we will continue to be known as Energy Safe Victoria (Energy Safe).

A photograph of Energy Safe's 3 commissioners. From left to right: Sarah McDowell, Michelle Groves and Monique Conheady.

Sarah McDowell, Michelle Groves and Monique Conheady

The Commission replaces the role of Director of Energy Safety and holds all regulatory powers previously held by the Director.

The Commission is responsible for providing leadership and strategic guidance for Energy Safe and leading its transformation as a modern, fit for purpose regulator, capable of effective, best practice regulation to achieve the highest standard energy safety outcomes for Victorians.

The Commission has statutory responsibilities to achieve the objectives as specified in the Energy Safe Victoria Act 2005, the Electricity Safety Act 1998, Gas Safety Act 1997 and the Pipelines Act 2005 and any other relevant legislation.

The powers of Energy Safe are vested in the Commissioners acting as a group. The Chairperson cannot exercise the powers of Energy Safe alone, although they have reserve powers in the event of emergencies.

The Commission comprises:

  • Commissioner and Chair, Monique Conheady
  • Commissioner and Deputy Chair, Michelle Groves
  • Commissioner, Sarah McDowell

Operation of the Commission

Decisions are made by consensus or by simple majority if a consensus cannot be reached (2/3).

Decisions reserved for the Commission include:

  • Electricity Safety Management Schemes
  • Bushfire mitigation plans
  • Gas safety cases
  • Prohibitions.

Advisory Committees

Electric Line Clearance Consultative Committee (ELCCC)

This committee of 13 members, meet quarterly and is governed by Section 87 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998. The committee's function is to pride advice to Energy Safe and the Minister with regard to:

  • The preparation and maintenance of the Code of Practice for electric line clearance (ELC); and
  • Any matter relating to ELC, when requested so to do by Energy Safe or the Minister.

The membership allows for a diversity of opinions in regards to the clearance of trees near powerlines. Committee members’ have differing views and expectations in regards to costs, visual amenity and the protection of tree health. However, the outcome on which all stakeholders agree is the minimisation, and if possible, the elimination of situations created by trees coming into contact with powerlines. The safety of people and property is an agreed objective.

Victorian Electrolysis Committee (VEC)

The Victorian Electrolysis Committee consists of eight members representing various industry groups. Part 9 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 establishes the Victorian Electrolysis Committee, and under section 92 of the Act the functions of the VEC are to:

  • Establish and maintain standards for systems for cathodic protection and for the mitigation of stray current corrosion; and
  • Provide advice to Energy Safe Victoria, on any matter related to electrolysis and the regulations relating to cathodic protection and to the mitigation of stray current corrosion, when requested to do so by Energy Safe Victoria; and
  • Encourage the development of new methods and technology to increase the efficiency of systems for the mitigation of stray current corrosion.

Part 9 of the Act also contains provisions relating to Cathodic Protection Systems, Mitigation Systems and the constitution of the VEC.

Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)

This committee of six, plus the Chair, meet quarterly and is responsible for providing advice to Energy Safe on regulatory functions, as defined below.

  • Network energy safety
  • Energy equipment and appliance safety
  • Safety of energy work
  • Compliance with safety
  • Energy efficiency
  • The changing energy landscape (e.g. hydrogen), and
  • advice on energy safety for the community, where this advice is not already provided by the Electric Line Clearance Consultative Committee, Victorian Electrolysis Committee or any committees established by Energy Safe under Section 8 of the Energy Safe Victoria Act 2005.

Workforce Engagement Consultative Committee (WECC)

This committee of 16, plus the Chair, meet twice per year to provide strategic advice in relation to Energy Safe's development of broader workforce engagement strategies, including the promotion and sharing of best practices between gas and electricity network businesses, their workforce and contractors.

The scope of the WECC’s deliberations and activities will have regard for:

  • Advice provided by the Office of the Victorian Skills Commissioner in relation to worker training and skills
  • Network safety performance trends and outcomes
  • Energy Safe's interface with WorkSafe Victoria and other safety regulators
  • Worker competency and training
  • Developments in new technology (e.g. hydrogen)
  • No Go Zone and encroachment issues
  • Safety alerts
  • Major incidents occurring on the network.

This committee of 12, plus the Chair, meet twice per year to provide Energy Safe with expert advice on matters relating to future energy trends that may impact the electricity and gas sectors (production, distribution and equipment/appliances) in Victoria, and regard possible approaches to manage changes and new sources of risk.

The scope of the FTAC deliberations and activities is to identify and assess trends in:

  • New and disruptive electricity and gas technologies and products
  • New and disruptive enabling technologies and products (e.g. hydrogen)
  • New business models arising from those technologies
  • Socio-economic, geopolitical, demographic, market and workforce changes
  • New approaches and methodologies for asset and safety management.

Audit and Risk Committee (ARC)

The Audit and Risk committee meets at least four times per year and comprises independent Chair, an Energy Safe Commissioner and two other independent members.

This committee’s role is to oversee and review Energy Safe's processes of management and the internal and external audit functions, with a view to assisting the Commission achieve its governance responsibilities. It must provide independent assurance, advice and assistance to the Commission (where relevant) on Energy Safe's risk, control, performance and compliance framework, and its reporting obligations within the Standing Directions 2018 under the Financial Management Act 1994.

Remuneration Committee (RemCo)

The Remuneration committee meets twice per year and comprises Energy Safe Commissioner (as Chair) and two independent members.

The committee’s purpose is to provide independent advice, assurance and assistance to the Commission and the CEO on executive and senior leaders remuneration and employment matters, to enable consistency with government policy and to ensure best practice principles are applied across Energy Safe .

Date: 20/06/2024 0:27

The material in this print-out was accurate at the time of printing.