The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) regulates energy markets and networks under national energy market legislation and rules. Its functions, which mostly relate to energy markets in eastern and southern Australia, include:
- monitoring wholesale electricity and gas markets to ensure energy businesses comply with the legislation and rules, and taking enforcement action where necessary
- setting the amount of revenue that network businesses can recover from customers for using networks (electricity poles and wires and gas pipelines) that transport energy
- regulating retail energy markets in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania (electricity only) and the ACT
- operating the Energy Made Easy website, which provides a retail price comparator and other information for energy consumers
- publishing information on energy markets, including the annual State of the energy market report, to assist participants and the wider community.
We support the COAG Energy Council, with regular briefings on energy market activity and by providing advice on energy market issues as they arise. We also work with other energy market bodies, including the AEMC and AEMO, on policy matters, rule change processes and market issues. Additionally, we assist the ACCC with energy-related issues arising under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, including enforcement, mergers and authorisations.
Governance and decision making
The AER operates under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act).
The AER Board is an independent entity, comprising three members who are statutory appointments. Ms Paula Conboy is the full-time Chair. The Act provides that one member of the AER must be a commissioner of the ACCC, appointed by the Commonwealth. Ms Cristina Cifuentes was appointed in this role from 30 May 2013. Mr Jim Cox commenced on 9 September 2013 as the acting state/territory appointed member of the AER Board for a 12 month term. Mr Cox was subsequently appointed as full-time Board member for a three year term from 26 June 2014.
The chair must preside at all AER Board meetings and a quorum requires both the chair and the member appointed by the Commonwealth. Questions arising at a meeting must be determined by unanimous vote of the members present and voting.
The AER may make decisions in relation to its functions under the National Electricity Law, National Gas Law and National Energy Retail Law. It can seek an order from the Federal Court that a person is in breach of a relevant energy law.
Decisions of the AER are subject to judicial review by the Federal Court.
The AER publishes annual reports, stakeholders surveys, and a statement of intent which includes our work program and benchmarks to measure our performance. These publications can be found on the corporate documents web page.
The office of the AER is responsible for providing timely, quality advice to the Board to support its decision-making responsibilities. In consultation with the Board, the office is responsible to the ACCC for governance and efficient management of resources.