Provider of Last Resort

What does ‘Provider of Last Resort’ mean?

‘Provider of Last Resort’ means that Essential Energy can only undertake contestable services once other third parties have had an opportunity to first carry out the work. When a customer is unable to find a competitive third party to undertake contestable services, they may submit their contestable job request to Essential Energy. In these circumstances, the contestable job requests are subject to the Provider of Last Resort provisions. Under this process, the details of the job request are advertised on a secure area of Essential Energy’s website for a fortnight. During this time, interested third parties may contact you to provide a quote. At the end of the fortnight, Essential Energy will contact you to confirm whether you were successful in obtaining a quote. If you were unsuccessful, Essential Energy is then able to undertake the work.

Which services are subject to the ‘Provider of Last Resort’ provisions?

  1. All services allowed for under the NSW ASP Scheme including, but not limited to, the following (refer to link below for the full list of services):
    - Level 1 customer connection services including both overhead and underground, and related network extensions or augmentations
    - Level 2 services such as disconnections and reconnections, and work on underground and overhead service conductors
    - Level 3 design services for both overhead and underground network electricity assets
  2. Customer-initiated asset relocations; and
  3. Inspection, maintenance, and testing of customer assets including HV assets (Note – this is for standard distribution system type assets and excludes emerging technology assets such PV, batteries, etc.)

You can find further information about the NSW ASP scheme at

If you are having trouble determining whether your job request is contestable and subject to the ‘Provider of Last Resort’ process, please contact Essential Energy on 13 23 91.

How can I submit a contestable job request?

There are two channels available to customers to submit a contestable job request. The Request of Service Work (ROSW) form is used for service works requests where the applicant has access to Secure Web Forms. For all other contestable job requests, use the POLR form . Links to the forms are below:

Customers should not submit either form before contacting a competitive third-party provider (i.e. an ASP) to provide a quote.

If you are having trouble completing a form, please contact Essential Energy on 13 23 91.

Are there any exemptions to the process?

There are two circumstances where a customer’s contestable job request will not be subject to the Provider of Last Resort process, and Essential Energy may provide the contestable services without advertising the details on its website. These are:

  • If the customer’s premises is in an area classified as ‘regionally exempt’ as outlined in the Guideline and the work being requested is Level 2 service work under the ASP scheme; or
  • If the customer’s premises is connected to Essential Energy’s distribution network and is in the ACT, Queensland, or Victoria.

Essential Energy is exempt from complying with certain ring fencing obligations for services provided from regional offices, which are defined by the AER as those that have fewer than 25,000 connection points within a 100km radius of the office.

Essential Energy has assessed its depots against the AER’s regional offices criteria and identified the following depots that satisfy the definition:

Balranald Condobolin Jerilderie Texas
Barham Coonabarabran Jindabyne Tooleybuc
Berrigan Coonamble Lake Cargelligo Tottenham
Bourke Deniliquin Moree Walgett
Broken Hill Goondiwindi Narrabri Warialda
Buronga Hay Nyngan West Wyalong
Cobar Hillston Tenterfield Wilcannia


The regional office exemption may apply if your job request falls in one of these areas.

When you submit a POLR form or a ROSW form, Essential Energy will assess whether your job request satisfies the regional office exemption or is in the ACT, Queensland, or Victoria. If so, Essential Energy will contact you for further details. 

Where are the contestable work requests advertised?

Under the Provider of Last Resort process, contestable work requests will be advertised on Essential Energy’s external document library for a period of two weeks to enable third parties the opportunity to quote for the work. Essential Energy will contact you at the end of the two-week advertising period to determine if you were successful in obtaining a quote from a third party.
View the Document Library

How do third parties get access to the document library?

Third parties can register to access via the document library login page.