Ara Ake is now seeking participants to join their multiple trading relationships (MTR) pilot. A world-first pilot that offers individuals and businesses more choice and flexibility when it comes to managing their electricity.
The innovative concept of MTR aims to provide a customer with the option to contract with more than one electricity supplier to receive or supply a subset of electricity services at an installation control point (ICP), where currently they are only able to contract with one.
Minister for Energy and Resources, Hon Dr Megan Woods welcomes the MTR pilot, "We are ambitious for our energy system and innovation will be key as we transition to a net-zero future. I support initiatives that offer consumers of electricity more choice and value."
Currently MTR is not allowed for under the New Zealand’s Electricity Industry Participation Code (the Code), and this pilot stems from a consultation process which commenced in 2017 by the Electricity Authority.
"The Electricity Authority is pleased to see this pilot progressing. Making it easier for consumers to have multiple trading relationships is likely to have benefits, such as more choice for consumers, greater competition and innovation, and a more reliable electricity supply," says Andrew Doube, General Manager, Market Policy at the Electricity Authority.
"Pilots like this are a great way to find out and understand the value and benefit to consumers and what regulatory barriers may need to be removed to ensure an efficient transition to a low emissions economy with a greater focus on renewables," continues Doube.
Ara Ake has offered to test the concept in an ‘off-market’ (i.e. voluntary) environment, and Ara Ake Chief Executive, Dr. Cristiano Marantes, is looking forward to seeing the outcomes of this pilot.
"This is a real world test to determine the feasibility of the MTR concept and the benefits to customers. We’re looking forward to understanding different innovative business models and propositions that might be developed under the MTR concept. Overall, we are hoping to see more innovative consumer-centric electricity services and a greater uptake of distributed energy resources," says Marantes.
The operational requirements, participation agreement, and the process of how the pilot will run were developed at a workshop hosted by Ara Ake in June 2021, and then feedback was received from multiple interested parties before the documents were finalised.
An Advisory Group has been formed for the pilot, consisting of members from MBIE, Electricity Authority, Electricity Network Association, Electricity Retailers Association NZ, Sustainable Energy Associations NZ, and Consumer NZ.
Organisations can now sign up to take part in the pilot, and those interested in being customers can now register their expressions of interest until April 2022. The operational phase of the pilot is expected to commence in late 2021, with the pilot anticipated to run until April 2023.
To find out more about the MTR pilot, please visit www.araake.co.nz/projects/mtr.