Focus on consumers, costs and affordability in changing energy market

The Australian Energy Regulator will maintain its focus on consumers, costs and affordability as reliance on renewables increases in the changing energy market a board member has told a major energy conference.

Speaking in Sydney at the 2017 “Disruption & the Energy Industry” conference on the topic of Regulation that supports innovation, demand and consumers, Australian Energy Regulator (AER) board member Mr Jim Cox said that the AER will be part of a managed transition to greater use of renewables with continuing focus on  customers, costs and affordability.

“The energy market is changing – we are moving towards greater use of renewables and decentralised energy production”

Mr Cox told the audience that New technologies can bring new challenges, including greater reliance on intermittent generation and the removal of significant amounts of capacity which leaves a tighter supply demand balance.”

“The energy market must include technologies which can provide secure reliable and affordable supply.”

“We need to ensure that the regulatory framework allows consumers to take advantage of opportunities that new energy technologies present, while maintaining appropriate protections,” he said.

Pointing to some of the AER’s recent work in ring-fencing, demand management scheme and cost reflective pricing, Mr Cox said the AER has demonstrated it can use regulation to support innovation and respond to a changing energy market.

“The challenge for the AER is to ensure consumers are protected, network prices are no higher than they need to be and the market is able to meet their needs” he said.

“One significant reform which will remove upward pressure on prices is the removal of Limited Merits Review, or LMR,” he said.

Mr Cox also reaffirmed the AER’s strong commitment to stakeholder engagement.

“Our revised Stakeholder Engagement Framework will describe how stakeholders can participate in a more productive discussion about energy regulation in a less adversarial environment,” he said.

Read Mr Cox's speech.

Conference: 
Renew Economy
Issued date: 
7 September 2017
AER reference: 
AC 119/17