AusNet Services has conducted a trial of the New Reg process in the development of its regulatory proposal for the 2021–25 period.

For further information on AusNet’s consultation, including opportunities to be involved in the consultation, please see the AusNet Services website. For information on the AER's consultation on New Reg process we direct you to Consultation on New Reg.

Customer forum

The Customer Forum consists of five members; greater detail about the selection process is set out in section 3.5 of AusNet Services Early Engagement Plan.

Operations and governance

The operations of the trial were guided by its founding documents. These are:

  1. AusNet Services Early Engagement Plan, which was accepted by the AER on 11 March 2018; it broadly lays out the process by which AusNet will operate the Customer Forum; and
  2. A Memorandum of Understanding between AusNet Services, the AER and the Customer Forum, which formalised governance arrangements for the trial, including key responsibilities and deliverables, funding arrangements and conflict resolution mechanisms, including the role of the Reference Committee.



AER staff played a role in the AusNet Services Trial. This included providing input on the recruitment of Customer Forum, providing guidance and support to the Customer Forum and agreeing the proposed scope of matters for negotiation.

Consumer Challenge Panel

The Consumer Challenge Panel (CCP) assists the AER to make better regulatory determinations by providing input on issues of importance to consumers. The CCP17 subpanel, consisting of Mike Swanston, Robyn Robinson, David Prins and Mark Henley, was assembled for the 2021–25 Victorian electricity distribution determinations. CCP17’s role was to provide advice to the AER on the proposals of all five Victorian electricity distribution businesses. This included advice on the consumer engagement of the DBs and how it has influenced their respective Regulatory Proposals.

CCP17 undertook three specific roles prior to the lodgement of AusNet Services’ revenue proposal with the AER:

  1. Assisting the Customer Forum, where requested, in preparing its initial and final Engagement Reports. This involved meeting with the Customer Forum and CCP17 to test their thinking on issues that are in scope, and access the broader perspectives of the CCP.
  2. Observe AusNet Services’ consultation on its draft revenue proposal with consumers and other stakeholder groups, focusing on issues that are out-of-scope of the Customer Forum’s negotiation. Where requested by AusNet Services, CCP17 engaged on issues that are not in the scope of the Customer Forum. This meant that AusNet Services can consult with CCP, Customer Forum and AER in any ‘deep dives’.
  3. Provided feedback to the AER on the Customer Forum’s initial Engagement Report and the draft revenue proposal. The Customer Forum was able to take CCP17’s views into account, along with the views of other consumer groups, in preparing their final Engagement Report.

Beyond making submissions on the distribution businesses’ revenue proposals after they have been lodged, CCP17 performed its usual role, which included providing input and challenging the AER on key consumer issues and submitting on the AER’s draft determinations and the AusNet Services’ revised proposal.

Guidance notes

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 1 - How the AER will support the Customer Forum - July 2018

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 2 - Scope of negotiation - July 2018

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 3 - Customer experience - August 2018

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 4 - Opex - August 2018

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 5 - Augex - August 2018

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 6 - Revenue Path Profile - August 2018

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 7 - Customer hardship - 20 August 2018

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance on AusNet Negotiating Position - August 2018

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 8 - Negotiation between the Forum

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance note 9 - draft proposal and interim engagement report - March 2019

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance note 10 – AusNet’s final negotiating positions - October 2019

CCP17 - AusNet Customer Forum Interim Engagement Report Response - May 2019