The AER has developed a framework to optimise the quality, timeliness and usefulness of the Consumer Challenge Panel (CCP) advice to the AER.
Sub-panels of 3 to 4 members work on each regulatory determination. Sub-panels are generally allocated a cluster of businesses that are jurisdiction based, with members allocated to these groups based on their expertise and conflicts of interest.
Members use their expertise and consumer perspectives to provide advice to the AER on the interests and concerns of consumers and whether the network proposal is in the long-term interests of consumers. This provides members with a unique opportunity to contribute to the debate on network charges that will impact consumers in the future.
The AER issues a request of advice, which provides details as to the businesses involved in each regulatory determination, the sub-panel members and the timeframes for delivery of advice. Within these confines, sub-panel members have flexibility to work in a way that best suits them. While the AER can request advice on a particular matter, members will exercise well informed judgment in prioritising and selecting the matters and issues in each determination that have the greatest potential to influence consumer outcomes, having regard to the jurisdiction and role of the AER.
Throughout a determination, members work closely with AER staff and meet with the AER Board. This provides opportunities for members and the AER to debate issues and seek information and feedback.
CCP members meet with businesses at different stages of a review. These meetings provide members with an understanding of the business and its regulatory proposal, including outcomes for consumers. CCP members also meet with consumer groups throughout the review process to gain an understanding of the issues that are of concern to consumers.