Connections and alteration process explained

If you're building or renovating and need a new connection to the electricity distribution network or an alteration of an existing connection, apply through our Connections Portal.

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We'd like to speak with you early in your project planning to ensure we understand your needs. Find out how to arrange an appointment with us to discuss your connection requirements.

Application process

The following steps describe the connection application process in detail.

1. Application

Applications for a new connection to the network or the alteration of an existing connection can be lodged by you, your electrical contractor or an electricity retailer acting on your behalf, as well as by property developers. Connection applications can be submitted through our Connections Portal or emailed, faxed or posted to us by downloading and printing these forms. A printed copy of the application form can also be mailed to you on request.

Regardless how the application is lodged, you will usually need assistance from an electrical contractor to complete the more technical aspects of your application.

Before applying for a new connection or the alteration of an existing connection, you should read the connection contract terms and conditions (PDF) and the schedule contract that applies to the type of connection involved, which together will form the connection contract between you and us.

2. Assessment

Once an application is received, we review the information in order to:

  • Check it is complete
  • Check the right type of connection has been applied for
  • Assess whether the local distribution network will support the proposed connection

In some cases, the connection assessment process may require a more detailed technical assessment by one of our engineers and/or a visit to your premises to identify the best location for the proposed work. Both services are provided at no cost to you. If the information in an application is incomplete, you may be asked for additional information so we can conduct an accurate assessment.

Within 10 business days of receiving a valid, completed application for connection, we'll advise you if the proposed connection is a basic connection (and confirm the type of service involved), or if it is a negotiated connection. A negotiated connection is more complex than a basic connection.

For negotiated connections, further investigation by us is required to identify the additional work required and cost to you. For this to occur, you are required to agree to progress to the design and offer stage. We usually require you to pay an application fee/design deposit of $500. The design deposit contributes to our cost to conduct a detailed on-site investigation, design the proposed connection and prepare the ensuing connection offer. It's deducted from your contribution when the offer is accepted.

3. Offer

Basic connections

If the connection or alteration is basic, we'll make a connection offer to the applicant within 10 days of the application being received. The connection offer must be in accordance with the relevant model standing offer, which means the offer is made on the same terms and conditions applying to those with basic connections (of which there are 16 types). The connection offer includes details of any upfront costs.

Find out about connection alteration fees and new connection fees.

Our offers of basic connections are kept open for 90 business days from the date the offer was made, after which the offer lapses.

Negotiated connections

In the case of negotiated connections, we'll endeavour to make a negotiated connection offer to you within 65 business days of the date of the application. Because negotiated connections require some element of customisation, the time taken to make a negotiated connection offer to an applicant will vary according to the complexity of the proposed connection and the amount of work involved in designing the connection.

A connection offer for a negotiated connection includes your capital contribution, which is calculated on a case-by-case basis, based on the design of the connection. The connection cost includes the cost of design. Should the connection progress, the deposit already paid by you will be deducted from your final capital contribution.

Negotiated connection offers are required under the National Electricity Rules to remain open for 20 business days from the date of offer. Extensions of this period are available on a case-by-case basis in situations where, for example, connection is held up by things like delays sometimes experienced by those gaining planning approval.

If a negotiated connection offer is not actioned within the acceptance period (and an extension is not sought), you'll need to lodge a new application if you wish to proceed with the connection, along with payment of another design deposit to offset the cost of preparing a new connection offer.

If connection does not proceed, all design costs will be recovered from you.

4. Acceptance

Basic connections

Basic connection offers are deemed by us to have been accepted (in-principle) by you at the time they're made, because for an application to be complete you have to indicate your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out in the relevant connection contract. However, until such time as we're instructed to proceed, the offer remains open.

Work on a basic connection will not start until an electrical works request (EWR) for the new or updated connection has been submitted by an electrical contractor to your electricity retailer, which then forwards the request to us for action. We'll then match the EWR with the application and schedule the connection into our work program.

If an EWR for a basic connection is not received by us within 90 business days of the connection offer having been made, the offer lapses and you will need to submit a new application.

Negotiated connections

In the case of a negotiated connection, work will not start until a formal response has been received from you indicating your acceptance of the offer.

You're also required to pay in full the capital contribution associated with the connection service before work can begin.

Only once the connection work has been completed does an EWR have to be submitted to us by your electricity retailer for final connection and energisation to progress.

5. Connection

Basic connections

Once an EWR has been received and matched to the connection application by us, it will usually take no more than 10 business days for us to complete the work required to establish the requested connection. However, in cases where the installation of an additional crossover pole is required on or outside your premises in order to bring the network close enough to enable a basic connection, the process may take up to 50 business days.

The receipt of an EWR for a new or upgraded connection from an electricity retailer sees us instigate both connection and energisation as part of the same work order, with the connection being energised as soon as it has been established.

We will not invoice you for any capital contribution until after the connection has been established. However, in the case of some basic connection services (like modifications to existing connections to support solar panels) it may be your electricity retailer that will charge you for the connection (not us as the service provider).

Negotiated connections

Depending on the complexity, the time taken to establish the connection to the distribution network may be significantly longer than is the case for a basic connection.

Once a connection has been established with the distribution network, the only task remaining is for the connection to be energised. However, we're not required to energise a new connection until a request to do so has been submitted by an electricity retailer, or we are otherwise satisfied there is a relevant contract with a retailer in relation to the premises in question.

Usually, once the work required to establish a negotiated connection has been completed by us, your electrical contractor will submit an EWR to your electricity retailer, who then generates a service order request for us to provide the final connection and energisation.