On 29 June 2022 the AER held a virtual roundtable to better understand the retailer perspective on reforming electricity distribution network tariffs.
Retailers package network tariffs with their other costs to develop retail offers for customers.
The roundtable was attended by 15 retailer representatives, AER Board members Eric Groom, Catriona Lowe and Justin Oliver and staff from the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Market Operator and the commonwealth Department of Industry Science, Energy and Resources.
Some views expressed by Retailer participants included:
- customer’s often do not understand or see value in distributor’s cost reflective network tariffs
- overwhelmingly customers want simplicity in their energy offering and complexities require considerable incentives to get engagement, which may not be feasible
- the customer perspective needs to be reflected in the network tariff reform program and retailers are best placed to provide products suited to customer’s needs, and to design solutions that respond to the demand actions (consume/export) of networks.
- rooftop solar, batteries, home energy management systems and electric vehicles represent opportunities as well as some challenges
- the electricity sector is evolving rapidly, which highlights the importance of flexibility and adaptability and presents an associated challenge in providing important stability and predictability for customers
- a period of usage data after smart meter installation would support customers/retailers understand which retail/network offer suits the customer’s needs
The roundtable is one element of the AER’s consultative approach to progressing the tariff reform program. The AER looks forward to continuing to work with electricity networks, retailers and other stakeholders in the upcoming Tariff Structure Statement consultation for NSW, ACT, Tas and NT electricity networks.