The Board

The AER has an independent Board made up of one Commonwealth member and two state/territory members. The Governor-General appoints the members for terms of up to five years. One member is appointed as chair.

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Chair - Clare Savage

Clare Savage was appointed Chair of the Australian Energy Regulator in September 2019.

Over the last 17 years Clare has acquired significant leadership experience in the Australian energy industry. She has a passion for the energy sector and a commitment to its development, particularly through this current transition.

Clare has worked extensively on a range of issues including governance; climate change and renewables policy; electricity and gas market design and operation; network regulation and pricing; and retail market regulation.

Prior to joining the AER, Clare was Deputy Chair of the Energy Security Board. Together with the Chair of the ESB, Clare has worked to bring a greater level of coordination to the activities of the three energy market institutions and overseen the delivery of many of the recommendations of the Finkel Review. Clare was responsible for the development of the Retailer Reliability Obligation which confers considerable new responsibilities on the AER.

Prior to joining the ESB, Clare was the Executive Director, Policy, Energy & Climate Change at the Business Council of Australia and worked with Australia’s largest businesses, including electricity and gas producers and consumers, to develop a suite of integrated energy and climate change policies.

From 2012 to 2015 Clare held executive positions within EnergyAustralia spanning corporate strategy; business development; policy & government affairs; and public affairs gaining deep insight into competitive wholesale and retail electricity and gas markets. Prior to this Clare held several roles at the Energy Supply Association of Australia (esaa) including Chief Executive Officer providing strategic thought leadership to the industry and working with governments to develop policies to support outcomes for both the competitive and regulated sectors of the industry.

Clare commenced her career in the public service – initially in the UK and then at the Federal Department of the Treasury. It was during her time at Treasury that her passion for the energy sector was ignited.

Clare has a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) and a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and History) from The University of Melbourne.

Clare Savage image for reproduction:  Clare Savage ( PNG 70.55 KB )

Board Member - Cristina Cifuentes

On 30 May 2013 Ms Cristina Cifuentes was appointed as a Commissioner of the ACCC and full-time Commonwealth member of the AER Board, replacing Mr Ed Willett. Cristina serves as an AER Board member concurrently with her ACCC appointment.

Cristina was previously appointed as the part-time member of the AER from 27 October 2010.

Cristina has formal qualifications in law and economics and her membership of the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal between 1997 and 2006 gives her a breadth of experience in energy networks and market regulation. Cristina has also held a number of directorships including with the Hunter Water Corporation and First State Super Trustee Corporation.

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Board Member - Jim Cox

On 23 May 2017 Jim Cox was reappointed as a full-time state/territory member of the AER Board for a further three-year term. Jim was initially appointed in an acting capacity in September 2013 and confirmed in the role for three years from 26 June 2014.

Jim has held positions with the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Social Welfare Policy Secretariat of the Department of Social Security. He was a Principal Economist at the Office of EPAC between 1986 and 1989, and between 1989 and 1992 was a consultant to the New South Wales Cabinet Office. Jim was Principal Adviser to the Government Pricing Tribunal of New South Wales from 1992 and was a Member of the Tribunal since January, 1996. He was Acting Chairman of IPART during 2004, 2009/10 and 2011 and a visiting fellow at Monash University during 1985.

Jim assisted the New Zealand Government with social policy changes during the early part of 1991 and has written extensively on economic and social policy issues. This work has been published, among others, by the New Zealand Business Roundtable and the Centre for Independent Studies.

He was awarded the Public Service Medal in the Australia Day honours list in 2011 for outstanding public service to IPART.

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Office of the AER - Chief Executive Officer - Michelle Groves

Michelle Groves is the chief executive officer of the AER. She has held this position since May 2005. Michelle has over twenty years experience in implementation of national competition policy, energy market reform and utility regulation.

Prior to joining the AER, Michelle worked at the National Competition Council, principally in the areas of energy reform and third party access to essential facilities. She also has experience in the state government sector having worked for the Western Australian Government from 1988 to 1993.

Michelle has degrees in history and law from the University of Western Australia and a masters of law from the University of Melbourne.

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