The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has today published the Interim Contracts and Firmness Guidelines which form part of the AER’s functions for the Retailer Reliability Obligation (RRO). The guidelines are accompanied by an Auditors Panel Handbook which sets out more detailed information about the AER’s expectations and processes of the Auditors Panel.
As part of this process, the AER is required to establish and maintain a panel of auditors. The AER is now calling for expressions of interest from suitably qualified people to join the panel. Applications for the initial Auditors Panel will be open from 1 September 2019 to 31 October 2019.
The Auditors Panel Handbook acts as a supplement to the Guidelines. It specifies governance arrangements, including how we will establish and maintain the Auditors Panel, and our monitoring and oversight of the Auditors Panel.
When the RRO is triggered liable entities, usually retailers, must procure electricity contracts to meet their share of electricity demand. They must submit a record of their contracts to the AER in a Net Contract Position report. The Interim Contracts and Firmness Guidelines set out the AER’s approach to qualifying contracts, contract firmness methodology, when and how auditors from the Auditors Panel should be used, information requirements of liable entities, as well as its approach towards monitoring compliance with the obligation.
As set out in the National Electricity Rules (NER), the interim guideline will be replaced by a final version. The final version will be developed from early 2020 and will be published by 31 December 2020.