AusNet Services has conducted a trial of the New Reg process in the development of its regulatory proposal for the 2021-25 period. Under the New Reg process, a Customer Forum has been used to negotiate aspects of AusNet Services' regulatory proposal in advance of its lodgement with the AER.
View CEPA’s interim evaluation report here.
The New Reg process was developed through a joint initiative between the AER, Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) to explore ways to deliver better outcomes for consumers through improved energy network engagement, and identify opportunities for regulatory innovation. The goal of this initiative is to ensure that customer preferences drive energy network businesses proposals and regulatory outcomes.
The AER has engaged Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA) to conduct an independent evaluation of AusNet Services trial of New Reg. CEPA is undertaking this evaluation in accordance with the evaluation framework that it developed in consultation with stakeholders in 2018. The AER has just published CEPA’s interim evaluation of the New Reg trial.
CEPA’s interim evaluation considers AusNet’s trial of New Reg up to the AER’s draft determination on AusNet Services' regulatory proposal. This interim evaluation provides initial views on whether the trial has delivered on its objective, how the New Reg process could be improved and how the National Electricity Rules could be improved to better give effect to customer preferences. CEPA’s final evaluation will be released after the AER’s final determination on AusNet Services’ regulatory proposal in 2021. The final evaluation will consider the trial from start to finish, including AusNet Services’ revised proposal, submissions and the final determination.
The trial is one of many models of consumer engagement that networks have undertaken over the last couple of years. There are many learnings to be drawn from all engagement processes, and the interim evaluation report provides a stepping-stone to the final report next year. Next year, we will be seeking broader feedback on learnings and experiences which will be important to determining 'where to from here?' for the sector and consumer outcomes.