The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is pleased to announce that it has appointed a Consumer Reference Group (CRG) for its Inflation Review 2020 and Rate of Return Instrument 2022. The group will play a critical role in representing the perspectives and interests of consumers in these important review processes. Its members bring a wealth of experience across consumer advocacy, economics, finance and regulatory decision making.
The AER has appointed the following members to the CRG:
- Craig Memery (CRG Chair)
- Allan Asher
- Helen Bartley
- Dr Ron Ben-David
- Joanne (Jo) De Silva
- Kieran Donoghue
- Beverley Hughson
- Alex Oeser.
CRG membership will also include a representative from Energy Consumers’ Australia.
The inflation review and rate of return instrument are two important review processes for the AER, given the significant impact these issues have on the prices energy consumers pay. The CRG will make a significant contribution to these processes, including through providing advice or recommendations to us about our positions in relation to specific elements of the reviews.
We will publish on our website any written advice, recommendations or submissions provided to us by the CRG.
The CRG will operate from mid-June 2020 until the end of April 2023.
The 2020 Inflation Review and Rate of Return Instrument 2022 are two important review processes the AER is undertaking. Given the significant impact these two issues have on the prices consumers pay, it is important that we establish effective consumer consultation processes so that consumers’ perspectives are considered in the decisions we make.
We are reviewing the treatment of inflation in our regulatory framework, including the method likely to result in the best estimate of expected inflation. This will allow us to consider possible changes to our approach. We aim to reach a final position by December 2020. If that final position recommends changes to our approach, we will implement those changes in 2021.
The Rate of Return Instrument sets out the approach by which we will estimate the rate of return, and comprises the return on debt and the return on equity, as well as the value of imputation credits. We are required to publish a new rate of return instrument every four years. The next rate of return instrument is to be published in December 2022 and will bind all regulatory determinations in the subsequent four years. To determine the 2022 instrument we will undertake an extensive review, including multiple rounds of stakeholder consultation. We expect the active phase of this review will commence in the middle of 2021.