The national energy regime includes a series of dispute resolution mechanisms that are overseen by the AER.
The AER makes determinations on customer connection disputes with electricity distribution businesses under Part 10 of the National Electricity Law. Disputes arise when a customer is unable to reach agreement with a distribution business on the terms and conditions of connecting to the network.
In addition, the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005 makes the AER responsible for resolving disputes under that Act and the Electricity Industry Act 2000, and for making assessments under distribution business’ licence conditions.
The AER is the dispute resolution body for access disputes between a user or potential user of a pipeline and the pipeline service provider, under Chapter 6 of the National Gas Law.
A dispute may cover one or more aspects of access to a pipeline service. The prospective user, user or service provider may notify the AER, in writing, that an access dispute exists.
Information about how the AER resolves access disputes can be found in the Guideline for the resolution of distribution and transmission pipeline access disputes.
The AER resolves disputes about the application of both the regulatory investment test for transmission (RIT-T) and regulatory investment test for distribution (RIT-D) by network businesses.
Information about how the AER resolves disputes for the RIT-T and RIT-D can be found:
- in section 5 of the AER’s RIT-T application guidelines on the Regulatory investment test for transmission and guideline page.
- in section 6 of the AER's RIT-D application guidelines on the Regulatory investment test for distribution and guideline page.
Both documents provide a summary of the process, each party, including the AER, must follow for the relevant dispute resolution process under the Electricity Rules. They also provide information on who may dispute a RIT-T or RIT-D assessment; what matters can be disputed; and how to lodge a dispute.
On 23 January 2017, the AER received a written notification from the Commissioner of Kangaroo Island and the Kangaroo Island Council disputing the conclusions made in SA Power Networks final project assessment report (FPAR) for the Kangaroo Island submarine cable RIT-D. A copy of this notice has been published on the AER website. On 17 May, in accordance with the requirements under clause 5.17.5 of the National Electricity Rules (Electricity Rules), the AER published a determination that found SA Power Networks did not apply the RIT-D in accordance with the Electricity Rules, but that it was not required to amend its FPAR.
The AER has appointed an independent dispute resolution adviser to administer dispute resolution provisions in the wholesale energy market. The provisions, in Chapter 8 of the National Electricity Rules and Part 15C of the National Gas Rules, contain mechanisms for dispute resolution between participants (as defined) including Australian Energy Market Operator.
The independent dispute resolution adviser (WEMDRA) provides guidance and resources in this dedicated section of the site.