A new era in networks regulation
The Commonwealth Government’s decision of 20 June to abolish the Limited Merits Review from AER decisions that set network revenues also heralds new opportunities to enhance the regulation of networks for the benefit of consumers.
In the past, our engagement with network businesses has at times been adversarial, driven in part by the existence of the Limited Merits Review process. This has reduced the effectiveness of engagement between all parties and has potentially limited the development of the regulatory framework to better meet the needs of consumers and businesses. We are looking forward to working in an environment that better supports collaboration and transparency, increased certainty and reduced costs.
We have already seen the networks that have embraced this type of approach, including genuine stakeholder engagement to inform the development of their regulatory processes, enjoy the benefits of a more streamlined process that flows from reasonably costed regulatory proposals in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. We are looking forward to achieving more outcomes like these in the future.
Speaking at the ENA Regulation Seminar in July, AER Chair Paula Conboy said:
"This is not surprising given Australian electricity prices have increased significantly since 2008. Further significant increases in retail electricity and gas prices since the start of July have really brought the issue into sharp focus.
"Perhaps more than ever, the consumer has a market voice as well as a political voice. The context in which we now operate has seen the political optics around 'the average consumer' dramatically amplified. That can no longer be ignored."