Overview

Draft decision

On 16 June 2022 the AER published its draft decision on its rate of return review. The draft decision includes the Rate of Return Instrument and Explanatory Statement.

Consultation - Independent Panel

The Independent Panel to review our draft Rate of Return 2022 is:

  • Pat Duignan (Chair)
  • Carol Austin
  • Professor Ian Cooper
  • Geoff Frankish
  • Tony Smith

This is a highly capable group with extensive experience and standing in their fields. The objective of the Independent Panel is to support the AER make the best possible instrument by reviewing the draft Instrument and the information available to us in drafting the Instrument.

We have asked the Panel to consider two  questions:

  • In the panel’s view, is the draft instrument supported by evidence and reasons, taking into account competing factors such as accuracy, consistency, accessibility and transparency?
  • In the panel’s view, is the draft Instrument likely to contribute to the achievement of the National Electricity Objective and National Gas Objective?

On 28 July 2022 the Independent Panel provided its report to the AER.

Supporting information - Independent Panel

Interactions between the AER and independent panel members.

Submissions - draft Rate of Return Instrument and explanatory statement

We invited interested stakeholders to make submissions on our draft Rate of Return Instrument and Explanatory Statement. Submissions closed on 2 September 2022.

AEC - Consultation Draft Rate of Return Instrument 2022 - August 2022

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Australian Energy Council (AEC)

AGIG - AER Draft RoRI AGIG Response - September 2022

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Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG)

APGA - AER Draft 2022 Rate of Return Instrument - September 2022

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Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA)

CEC - Draft 2022 Rate of Return Instrument - September 2022

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Clean Energy Council (CEC)

CRG - Advice to the AER re Draft RoRI June 2022 - September 2022

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Consumer Reference Group (CRG)

CRG - Advice Draft RoRI Attach 1 CRG Consumer Survey 3 Report - August 2022

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Consumer Reference Group (CRG)

CRG - Advice Draft RoRI Attach 2 MRP Report to CRG Final - August 2022

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Graham Partington and Stephen Satchell

ENA - Response AER 2022 Draft Rate of Return Instrument - September 2022

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Energy Networks Australia (ENA)

ENA - Attachment B - Schmalensee Expert Report - July 2022

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Professor R. Schmalensee

EUAA – Draft Rate Of Return Instrument - September 2022

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Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA)

IPA - Submission AER 2022 Draft Rate of Return Instrument - August 2022

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Infrastructure Parnerships Australia (IPA)

NSG - Submission to AER Draft Decision - September 2022

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Network Shareholder Group (NSG)

QTC - AER Draft Rate of Return Instrument Explanatory Statement - September 2022

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Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC)

Stakeholder forum - 27 July 2022

The AER held an online stakeholder forum on the 2022 Rate of Return draft decision on 27 July 2022 between 2 and 4.30 pm (AEST).

At this forum, we discussed our approach to arrive at the draft 2022 Rate of Return Instrument decision. Industry and consumer stakeholders also gave presentations on various aspects of the rate of return.

ACOSS - Public forum presentation - 27 July 2022

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Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)

AEC - Public forum presentation - 27 July 2022

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Australian Energy Council (AEC)

APGA - Public forum presentation - 27 July 2022

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Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA)

ECA - Public forum presentation - 27 July 2022

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Energy Consumers Australia (ECA)

ENA - Public forum presentation - 27 July 2022

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Energy Networks Australia (ENA)

Stakeholder forum - 7 September 2022

The AER held a second online stakeholder forum on the 7 September 2022 between 2 and 4.30 pm.

The purpose of this forum was to hear from stakeholders on their submissions, by providing a platform to stakeholders who wished to present their written submissions. This also provided an opportunity for us and other participants to engage in Q&A.

AEC – Public forum presentation – 7 September 2022

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Authors
Australian Energy Council (AEC)

APGA – Public forum presentation – 7 September 2022

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Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA)

CRG – Public forum presentation – Engagement – 7 September 2022

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Consumer Reference Group (CRG)

CRG – Public forum presentation – Technical – 7 September 2022

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Consumer Reference Group (CRG)

ENA – Public forum presentation – 7 September 2022

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Energy Networks Australia (ENA)

QTC – Public forum presentation – 7 September 2022

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Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC)

Update

25 October 2022

In response to one of the Independent Panel’s central recommendations, we engaged CEPA to update its May 2021 report on Regulated Asset Base (RAB) multiples. Given this material extends the consideration in our draft decision, we think it important to hear from stakeholders before we make our final decision.

Written submissions should be emailed to RateOfReturnataer [dot] gov [dot] au (RateOfReturn[at]aer[dot]gov[dot]au) and will close on Wednesday, 9 November 2022.  

2 November 2022

The Independent Panel recommended that we consider the extent to which some of the rate of return parameters may have been impacted by the low interest rates and quantitative easing which is now being unwound. To this end, they suggested that we seek expert advice.

We sought advice from the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Commonwealth Treasury (The Treasury). This correspondence is now published.

Having regard to The Treasury advice the alternative options for estimating the market risk premium (MRP) include:

  • No change to our current approach in the draft determination, which uses Historical Excess Return (HER) data to December 2021
  • Adopt HER data up to December 2019
  • Adopt HER data up to September 2022, given that is the latest available data
  • Adopt HER data up to December 2022.

Adopting HER data up to December 2022 could be done using two alternative approaches:

  • delaying the 2022 RORI into 2023 until the full calendar year data is available
  • including a formula in the 2022 RORI that can be mechanically applied that calculates the HER after the full calendar year data is available. This option, all else being equal, may not require a delay to our 2022 RORI.

We have published updated data on HER that is consistent with the options available to us so that stakeholders can make an informed submission on the data we should use to estimate the MRP for the 2022 RORI.

We therefore invite stakeholders to make submissions on if and how we should adjust the HER sample period considering The Treasury advice.

Written submissions should be emailed to RateOfReturnataer [dot] gov [dot] au (RateOfReturn[at]aer[dot]gov[dot]au) and will close on Friday, 25 November 2022.

9 November 2022

As part of the Energy Networks Australia's submission on our draft Rate of Return Instrument, we received a report from Professor Richard Schmalensee that commented on our draft decision on the term of equity. In response, to assist the AER Board make its final decision on this issue, AER staff developed a note. We also sought and received clarification from Professor Schmalensee. Additionally, we received a response from Dr Martin Lally and comments from Dr Glenn Boyle.

We are not inviting submissions on this material, as it relates to an issue considered in our draft decision and raised in submissions.

This material is published below for stakeholders’ information.

14 November 2022

The AER has decided  to delay the publication of the 2022 Rate of Return Instrument until February 2023. The delay will allow us to consider the submissions made in the final instrument and avoid closing off options currently available.

The 2018 Rate of Return Instrument remains in force until it is replaced. However, publishing the new instrument in February 2023 will allow it to apply to our next set of regulatory decisions in April 2023.

Submissions - Update to CEPA report and adjusting the HER sample period considering The Treasury advice

We invited interested stakeholders to make submissions on the updated CEPA report on Regulated Asset Base multiples. Submissions closed on 9 November 2022.

We also invited interested stakeholders to make submissions on if and how we should adjust the HER sample period considering The Treasury advice. Submissions closed on 25 November 2022.