6 July 2018 - Updates for WA and Tasmania

For the latest information for WA visit the Government of Western Australia's website.

For the latest information for Tasmania download their fact sheet.

 

5 July 2018 - Victoria update

The following provides further clarity for the state of Victoria.

The electrical equipment safety system (EESS) legislation, which is currently before the Victorian Parliament's Legislative Council, means that there is currently no requirement for supplier registration or equipment registration in order to supply DC isolators in Victoria.

However, s.57 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (the Act) does require prescribed electrical equipment (including DC isolators) to be approved and marked with an approval marking before they are supplied or offered for supply in Victoria.

The Act (by way of a declaration notice published in the Government Gazette) declares the equipment listed in appendix B of AS/NZS 4417.2 as being prescribed electrical equipment. AS/NZS 4417.2 is an Australian/New Zealand standard that has been developed collaboratively with industry, regulators and other relevant stakeholders to define and classify electrical equipment that is considered to be high or medium risk.

Products that have been certified and can be supplied in Victoria can be found in the following register https://equipment.erac.gov.au/Public/. There is currently one product listed as being approved and one product listed with a voluntary certificate of suitability. Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) expects suppliers who hold a voluntary certificate of suitability for their DC isolator to work with their certifier to obtain a valid certificate of approval. In some situations, this may be purely an administrative process however in other situations further technical documentation may be required.

There are also currently six applications for approval of DC isolators currently with ESV for assessment however, further technical documentation is required to be provided by the applicants in order to progress and finalise those approval applications. ESV has prioritised the processing of these applications.

Section 57 of the Act does not provide ESV with an exemption power however; ESV will not immediately strictly enforce the new requirements against installers or suppliers of DC isolators. ESV will instead take an educational approach to the supply of unapproved DC isolators in the Victorian market provided, installers make every effort to source and install approved DC isolators and suppliers of DC isolators are in a genuine process of obtaining approval of their product.

There are a number of ways for suppliers to get their product certified. To obtain a certificate, the products must comply with one of the following:

  • the newly published requirements of AS 60947-3:2018
  • the international standard, IEC 60947-3 edition 3.2 and if for outdoor use, IP56 and some instructional requirements from AS 60947-3:2018
  • AS/NZS IEC 60947-3:2015 plus assessments to ensure suitability for use in solar PV installations plus the intent of instructional requirements from AS 60947-3:2018 (if for outdoor use, then part of the assessment of suitable criteria for use in solar PV installations should include at least IP56, if not IP56NW rating) as a transitional allowance.

 

4 July 2018

Following our note below from 2 July regarding the issue of appropriately-certified DC isolators, we can confirm the following updated information for each state. 

ACT

If DC isolators were purchased/imported from any state other than NSW, you would be covered under the EESS scheme where:

  • Under the EESS, there is a section in the Regulation which effectively states that existing stock which was imported as level 1 equipment will be continued to be treated as level 1 equipment for 12 months from the date the reclassification came into effect. As such, existing stock can be sold out over the next 12 months. To clarify, that is for existing stock. Any new product types sourced by an importer would need to comply with level 3 requirements.

Any DC isolators purchased/imported through NSW would have to comply with their legislation. At present DC isolators have not been gazetted as a prescribed article (level 3). The ACT Government’s advice is to monitor the NSW legislation and comply where required.

Since ACT uses comparable law provisions in the Electricity Safety Act, the ACT has no need to act independently on this issue.  Suppliers, except in NSW have 12 months to deplete old stock, and as the DC Isolator is not declared in NSW, there is no issue there.

New South Wales

Solar installations in NSW are not affected at this stage. In NSW DC isolators are not on the ‘declared list’.

Northern Territory

Solar installations in NT are not affected at this stage. NT is not a signatory to recognising the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS) National Database.

Queensland

DC isolators were re-classified, moving from “In-Scope” electrical equipment risk level 1 to level 3 under the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS).

The following table shows the basic requirements that are applicable.

  Prior to June 2018 From 30 June 2018
Product type In-Scope Level 1 In-Scope Level 3
DC isolators
  • The product is sold by a registered responsible supplier listed in EESS national database; and
  • The product is marked with the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM).
  • The product must have a valid Certificate of Conformity showing the product complies with the relevant Australian Standard AS 60947.3:2018; and
  • The brand and model/s must be registered to the responsible supplier in the EESS national database; and
  • be marked with the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM).

Note:

  • Existing stock already in Australia prior 30th June 2018 is considered In-Scope level 1 and can continue being sold until 30 June 2019 provided the responsible supplier is registered.
  • New products manufactured in Australia or imported into Queensland after the 30 June 2018, must comply with the requirements of In-Scope Level 3.
  • After 30 June 2019 all products must comply with the requirements of In-Scope level 3.

South Australia

If DC isolators are manufactured or imported in SA prior to 30 June 2018, they may be sold in SA for a period of up to 6 months after this date (i.e. 30 December 2018), even if they’re not labelled with the RCM or other recognised approval mark.

If DC isolators are manufactured or imported in SA after 30 June 2018, they can only be sold legally in SA if they have the RCM applied in accordance with the Level 3 Equipment requirements of the EESS.

Tasmania

Refer to the updated information above dated 6 July.

Victoria

Refer to the updated information above dated 5 July.

Western Australia

Refer to the updated information above dated 6 July.

 

2 July 2018

We have noted considerable confusion and frustration today within the solar industry regarding the issue of appropriately-certified DC isolators. This issue affects the installation of household solar power systems in some states and we are conscious that it needs to be addressed quickly.

Amendment 4 of AS/NZS 4417.2:2012, published on 30 June 2017, introduced additions to the classes of prescribed electrical equipment categories. These categories are now listed in appendix B of AS/NZS 4417.2 and took effect on 30 June 2018 in some states. For further details concerning implementation date and applicability, refer to your state’s electrical safety regulator. To confirm if your product complies with AS/NZS 4417.2:2012 Amendment 4, contact your supplier.

Of particular importance to the industry, DC isolators will now be classified as a level 3 prescribed item. In most states, it is an offence to supply level 3 or prescribed electrical equipment without being approved by a state electrical safety regulator or a JAS-ANZ accredited third party certifier.

Note the above is not related to the recently published amendments to AS/NZS 5033, which occurred around the same time and is creating additional confusion. 

The Clean Energy Council welcomes improvements to safety outcomes but we are concerned about the way this is being implemented in some states, and believe a longer transition period is required. We are very conscious of the urgency of this matter and have been in contact with safety regulators and state Ministers today to call for a transition period of at least six months.