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HAVE YOUR SAY RE ASP SCHEME REVIEW AND OFT SURVEY ABOUT SUPERVISION OF ELECTRICAL SUPPORT WORKERS AND APPRENTICES, AND USE MODEL SWPs

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Two important surveys/feedback consultations underway by the Better Regulation Division of the Department of Customer Service (Fair Trading) on supervision of electrical support workers and apprentices, and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) on review of the ASP Scheme.  Both are seeking feedback from stakeholders.

These are very important consultations, and organisations and practitioners involved in these areas of work should make every effort to submit their point of view to each.  A lack of quantitative and qualitative real-world feedback from organisations and everyday practitioners, will let those who want to make changes guide the result, which in the end might not be in the organisations’ and everyday practitioners’ interest.  Real feedback submitted by organisations and industry practitioners will help assemble data that supportive stakeholders can use.  Little feedback from stakeholders means little data and permits others to affect the outcome.

So, we encourage organisations and practitioners to complete the surveys.  A link to each of the surveys is follows and further below is a summary of each survey:

  1. OFT Supervision Survey – HAVE YOUR SAY (Closes Friday, 6 August 2021)
  2. ASP Scheme Review – www.energy.nsw.gov.au/asp-scheme-review (Closes Friday, 6 August 2021)

With respect to the first survey, Fair Trading state the following on the website (and download OFT power point presentation) about the survey:

Electricians use their technical expertise to keep our homes, businesses and industry powered. In NSW, there are over 70,000 licensed electricians working to bring safe and reliable electricity to our lives.

We are reviewing how apprentice electricians and unlicensed electrical workers are being supervised at work.

We want to hear from anyone working in the electrical and building trades and their clients. Your responses will help us understand current supervision practices and how they can be improved.

We will use your comments to inform possible best-practice supervision options for apprentice electricians and unlicensed electrical workers in our state.”

NOTE:  The inappropriate term used in the promotion of “unlicensed electrical workers” has been brought to the attention of OFT in that ‘Unlicensed electrical’ work implies illegal electrical work under the Home Building Act 1989 No 147 [NSW], Clause 14.  The NSW UE ITAB is surprised this term was permitted to be used by the Regulator in such a promotion/survey.  The Act defines it as ‘Unqualified electrical wiring work’.  Refer also, to clauses 27 and 28 of the Regulations (Home Building Regulation 2014) or as a recognised occupational classification, as ‘electrical support workers’.  Also, supervision of electrical support workers (sometimes known as TAs) is different than apprentices for obvious reasons and to those experienced in the industry. One wonders why OFT conjoined the question?

In relation to the ASP Scheme, a detailed email that was sent out by DPIE and is copied below for information about the review, outlining the review process and issues paper (attached).

SAFE WORK PROCEDURES

For your consideration and use also, attached are two Safe Work Procedures (SWPs) templates that your organisation might find useful in your business that are provided to encourage, particularly small and micro businesses, to develop and populate them to improve your operations.

Safe Work Procedures are designed to control the risks presented by different activities or environments. When there is an incident in a workplace, one the first questions an inspector may ask would be whether the situation is covered by a SWP.

Large organisations generally have safety management systems including SWPs. However, developing SWPs can pose problems for small businesses. So, to support employers and supervisors in the electrical industry the Electrical Safety Project (ESP – a group of interested practitioners who want to improve electrical safe work practices and quality of electrical workmanship) is developing a range of ‘model’ SWPs which can be downloaded from our web site.  See website link below in the signature block.

  1. About the model Safe Work Procedures (SWPs)
  2. 1.04 Test and Commission
  3. 1.07 Arc Flash SWP

Attached are two samples addressing electrical testing and arc flash. Also attached is a short paper describing the role of SWPs in the workplace, and listing the SWPs currently available from our site.  They are free for you to use.

Any comments or feedback to improve their quality and veracity would be appreciated.

Ensure you respond to the survey and review – your voice to government in these issues is important.


Email from ASP Consultation Mailbox – ASP Review Issues Paper for comment

Dear ASP stakeholder

Quick summary

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is reviewing the Accredited Service Provider (ASP) Scheme to examine the continued need for and arrangements to deliver contestable energy connection services as regulated through the Scheme.

We would appreciate your input into the review as the Scheme directly affects your operations. The Issues Paper (download the issues paper) includes questions to guide the future approach. Please make a submission including your answers to the questions by email. The Issues Paper includes guidance on how to make a submission. You can find the issues paper at https://energy.nsw.gov.au/asp-scheme-review.

Submissions are due by 11:59pm, Friday 6 August 2021.

In more detail

The ASP Scheme was last reviewed in 2010. Since that time, there has been a substantial increase in the estimated value of contestable works, commencement of Power of Choice metering arrangements, increase in connection of renewable energy generation to the grid and safety management and customer service expectations have changed.

The Terms of Reference for this current Review centre on these questions:

  • Does the current Scheme address its intended purpose of supporting contestable services?
  • To what extent does the Scheme deliver against the objectives of competence, consumer access and safety?
  • What arrangements are needed to ensure the scheme administration meets contemporary customer service expectations?
  • What arrangements are needed to ensure the scheme is responsive to industry change, technological advancements and training updates into the future?

The Department has prepared an issues paper from an initial scoping and the paper is now released for consultation as the first public stage of the Review. The issues paper is available at https://energy.nsw.gov.au/asp-scheme-review

Please note that all submissions will be made public unless you request that they not be published.

If you have any questions about the review, please contact Greg Davies at The Insight Partnership on 0412 845 094 or greg@insightpartnership.com.au.

Regards,

ASP Scheme

Energy, Climate Change & Sustainability| Department of Planning, Industry and Environment