Function VF 47
Electric light and power
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  • Use this Function for
    Electricity generation and supply Fuel and power Power

  • Do not use this Function for
    ; Gas and fuel

 
Description of this FunctionDescription of this Function
Background By 1880, companies such as the Victorian Electric Company and the Australian Electric Company (later incorporated into the Melbourne Electric Supply Company Limited VA 3966) were generating and supplying electric power, mainly for lighting, to small areas within the City of Melbourne. The same was also being done for specific areas or buildings by the Victorian Post-Master Generals Department and the Victorian Railways. Between 1892 and 1894, the Melbourne municipality developed an undertaking to light the streets in the city proper. Until 1896, there was no regulation or restriction on electric light and power undertakings. Regulation In 1896 the Government passed the Electric Light and Power Act No 1413 which was designed to regulate the electricity industry. The Postmaster-General, the Board of Land and Works and the Victorian Railways were permitted to engage in electrical undertakings for Government purposes. All other works and suppliers required the authority of an Order-in-Council. Municipalities were to have the power to supply electricity for public and purposes. Undertakings by companies also required the consent of the municipal Council for undertakings in a municipality. Orders-in-Council for non-municipal undertakings were valid for no more than 30 years with the undertaking being able to be purchased by the municipality at the end of that time. The Governor-in-Council might make regulations to secure public safety and Councils could make by-laws for the same purpose. The Department of Public Works (VA 669) was given the responsibility of administering this Act. Development By the end of 1899 the provision of electric light and power in the city area was undertaken by the Melbourne City Council. In other areas the generation and supply of electricity was undertaken by the Melbourne Electric Supply Company Limited (VA 3966) and other companies. By 1904 these had been joined by the North Melbourne Electric Tramways and Lighting Company Limited (VA 2974). Electricity was also supplied in non-Metropolitan areas In 1891 the Nhill Electric Light Company established a small plant to serve the town of Nhill. The Melbourne Electric Supply Company established electric light and power undertakings in Geelong in 1901 with the Electric Supply Company of Victoria doing the same in Ballarat (1905) and Bendigo (1903). In 1905, companies inaugurated schemes in Hamilton, Inglewood and Kerang. Between 1907 and 1913 some 34 electric undertakings were established in country towns with 18 of them being municipal schemes. Victorian Railways Electric power was viewed by the Victorian Railways (VA 2876) as a means of reducing the dependency on coal, particularly for the Melbourne suburban system. The report of Charles Merz tabled in Parliament in 1908 recommended an electric suburban rail service with the suggestion of a powerhouse on the Morwell brown coalfield to supply Melbourne. The recommendation for the electrification of the suburban rail system was supported by the Royal Commission on the Railway and Tramways Systems of Melbourne and Suburbs in 1911 and in 1912 Parliament authorised this with work on the first Newport Power Station being commenced in 1913. Progress was interrupted by World War I and the first passenger carrying train ran in May 1919. The Victorian Railways retained control of Newport A Power Station until 1951 and of the Newport B Power Station until 1939. State Electricity Commission of Victoria (previously known as the Electricity Commissioners). The Electricity Commissioners were constituted in 1919 under the provisions of the Electricity Commissioners Act 1918 (No.2996) and became the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (S.E.C.) under the provisions of the State Electricity Commission Act 1920 (No.3104). The Electricity Commissioners assumed responsibility for the administration of the Electric Light and Power Act from the Public Works Department (VA 669). The State Electricity Commission was required: ( to inquire into and report to the Government on the measures which should be taken to achieve the ultimate co-ordination and amalgamation of all electrical undertakings in Victoria, and to secure the efficient inter-connection of such undertakings by the adoption of necessary standards of plant and equipment and system frequency and pressure ( to encourage and promote the use of electricity for industrial and manufacturing purposes and to report to the Government on the prospects of establishing new industries requiring large quantities of electrical energy ( to carry out investigations to ascertain the extent of coal deposits or of water power suitable for use in connection with the generation of electricity ( to carry out investigations as to the safety and most economical means of improving the generation, distribution, supply and use of electricity throughout Victoria. The Commission was vested with the following powers in relation to electrical undertakings; ( to construct, maintain and operate electrical undertakings ( to supply electricity in bulk to any statutory corporation or undertaking such as municipalities ( to supply electricity to any person outside any area in which there is an existing undertaking and to Government departments and institutions ( to carry on any business associated with an electrical undertaking ( to make regulations as to precautions to be adopted in the use of electricity and to arrange for the licensing of electric wiremen ( to develop brown coal mining and briquette manufacture ( to develop hydro-electric resources ( to register contractors, control installation methods and materials, and ( test and trade in approved electrical equipment and appliances. Acquisition of Electrical Undertakings The Commission gradually acquired a number of electrical undertakings previously owned by companies, municipalities and the Victorian Railways. Between 1922 and 1953 the Commission acquired control of the following undertakings: ( North Melbourne Tramways and Lighting Company in 1922 ( Melbourne Electric Supply Company in 1930 ( The Electric Supply Company of Victoria in 1934 ( Newport B Power Station from Victorian Railways in 1939 ( Melbourne City Council Spencer Street Power Station in 1941 ( Newport A Power Station from Victorian Railways in 1951 ( Mildura Electrical Undertaking in 1953 The S.E.C. continued to provide bulk supply electricity to certain metropolitan municipalities which then supplied their customers. Restructure The Electricity Industry Act 1993 commenced the restructuring of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria with its disaggregation into three statutory business undertakings with independent chairmen. These were: Generation Victoria the production of power to meet the energy requirements of the system. National Electricity (further reconstituted as PowerNet Victoria by the Electricity Industry (Amendments) Act 1994) high voltage transmission, the balancing of supply and demand and for security of supply across the system. Electricity Services Victoria low voltage distribution and the sale of electricity to retail customers. The Office of the Administrator was established by the same Act to oversee this restructuring and continues (as at January 2001) to be responsible for all residual rights and obligations of the SECV not allocated to the disaggregated electricity entities. In 1994, the Electricity Industry (Amendments) Act abolished Electricity Services Victoria. This Act also provided for the transfer of remaining municipal electricity undertakings to the distribution companies formed from Electricity Services Victoria. The Victorian Power Exchange was created as a public authority to coordinate generation, transmission and distribution facilities. Under further amendments to the Electricity Industry Act in 1997 it became part of VENCorp (Victorian Energy Networks Corporation). VENCorp is responsible for procuring bulk electricity services from network owners under long-term contracts, planning and directing the augmentation of the shared electricity transmission network and managing electricity emergencies. Privatisation Both Electricity Services Victoria (October 1994) and Generation Victoria (January 1995) were further disaggregated into five independent companies each. The Electricity Industry (Amendments) Act 1995 allowed the Treasurer to provide for the sale or disposal of shares in these companies with these companies being subsequently sold to interests. The passing of the Electricity Industry (Loy Yang B) Act 1997 facilitated the sale of that power station. In 1998, further amendments to the Electricity Industry Act 1993 abolished PowerNet and repealed the State Electricity Commission Act 1958. The Office of the Regulator-General, established by the Office of the Regulator-General Act 1994, remains responsible for the oversight of licences relating to the electricity industry and for charges and tariffs. Sources: Electric Light and Power Act 1896 Electricity Industry Act 1993 Electricity Industry (Amendment) Act 1996 Electricity Industry (Further Amendment) Act 1996 Electriciyt Industry (Miscellaneous Amendment) Act 1997 Electricity Industry (Further Miscellaneous Amendment) Act 1997 Electricity Industry (Amendment) Act 1998 Electricity Industry Acts (Amendment) Act 1998 Electricity Industry (Loy Yang B) Act 1997 Victorian Year Book 1973 State Electricity Commission of Victoria Annual Report 1993 1994 State Electricity Commission of Victoria Annual Report 1993 1994 Edwards, Cecil Brown Power: A Jubilee History of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, State Electricity Commission, Melbourne, 1969. Lincolne, Gerald B Electricity Supply in Victoria, State Electricity Commission of Victoria.
 
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Other InformationOther Information
 
Agencies with prime responsibility for this FunctionAgencies with prime responsibility for this Function
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Date of Responsibility Agency Title Agency Number
1889 - 1901 The A.U. Alcock Electric Light and Motive Power Company Limited VA 3967
- 1901 Postmaster General's Department VA 2872
1901 - 1901 New Australian Electric Company Limited VA 3968
1901 - 1919 Public Works Department (previously the Department of the Commissioner of Public Works) VA 669
1901 - 1930 Melbourne Electric Supply Company Limited (previously Electric Light and Traction Company) VA 3966
1919 - 1922 North Melbourne Electric Tramways and Lighting Company Limited VA 2974
1923 - cont Yallourn Power Station VA 4603
1930 - 1994 State Electricity Commission of Victoria I (previously known as the Electricity Commissioners) VA 1002
1993 - 1999 Generation Victoria (Trading as Ecogen Energy) VA 4078
1994 - cont Office of the Administrator VA 4086
1997 - cont Loy Yang Power Management Pty Ltd (previously known as Loy Yang Power Ltd) VA 4074
1997 - cont Victorian Energy Networks Corporation (VENCorp) VA 4263
2005 - cont Energy Safe Victoria VA 4827
2013 - 2014 Department of State Development, Business and Innovation VA 5001
2015 - cont Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources VA 5034
 
Other Agencies responsible for this FunctionOther Agencies responsible for this Function
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Groups related to this FunctionGroups related to this Function
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Date of Responsibility Group Title Group Number
- 1901 Postmaster General VRG 21
1901 - 1919 Public Works VRG 28
1919 - 1985 Minerals and Energy VRG 47
1985 - 1990 Industry, Technology and Resources VRG 82
1990 - 1992 Manufacturing and Industry Development VRG 97
1992 - cont Energy and Minerals VRG 102
1996 - cont Treasurer VRG 23
2000 - cont Energy and Resources VRG 133
2002 - 2006 Energy Industries VRG 157
2006 - cont Energy and Resources II VRG 160