New statutory voltage limits for Queensland
We have amended the Electricity Regulation 2006 to align Queensland’s distribution network voltage limits with Australian and international best practice standards.
New voltage limits
Voltage limits in Queensland will change from 240 volts +/-6% to 230 volts +10/-6%, which is the range set out in Australian Standard (AS) 60038 (Standard voltages). The standard can be purchased from SAI Global.
Timeline for change
This change will occur over 1 year. Network distributors Energex and Ergon Energy must comply fully with the new voltage limits from 27 October 2018.
By 1 July 2020, our electricity networks will operate within a ‘preferred operating range’ of 230 volts +6/-2%. This range is set out in AS 61000.3.100 (Steady state voltage limits in public electricity systems). The preferred range aims to optimise the network to ensure electrical appliances operate more safely and efficiently.
Why are the voltage limits changing?
Power that flows from large amounts of rooftop solar into the power grid can cause network voltage levels to rise. This rise increases the risk of electrical appliances performing poorly or being damaged. To control voltage rise in the past, electricity distributors Energex and Ergon Energy invested significant resources upgrading the network and tightened their solar photovoltaic (PV) connection requirements. This made it harder, and in some cases more expensive, for customers to connect an exporting solar PV system to the grid.
The new Queensland voltage standards support our solar and renewable energy targets and the solar industry. They give Ergon Energy and Energex flexibility to operate the network at lower voltage so it can handle more power flowing into the grid from rooftop solar. This will allow an additional 960 megawatts of residential solar (the equivalent of around 200,000 household solar systems) to connect to the power grid with less need for costly network upgrades.
These changes were the result of a review of Queensland’s network voltage limits. This included a regulatory impact statement (RIS) process and public consultation on 3 different approaches to network supply voltage regulation.
- Read the results of the RIS process (PDF, 1.8MB).
What does this mean for customers?
As a result of the changes, electrical appliances and equipment will operate more efficiently at lower voltages. Ergon Energy and Energex have also relaxed their connection requirements, making it easier and cheaper to connect your solar PV or battery energy storage system to the grid.
Last updated 7 January 2019