The Consumer reference group (CRG) set a new benchmark in our approach to consumer engagement. It was established to facilitate consumer input into the ‘Better regulation’ project. The ‘Better regulation’ project encompassed the development of the AER’s guidelines as set out under the revised National Electricity Rules. The CRG brought together a panel of 21 members representing various consumer interests on a regular basis during the Better regulation program.
The AER sought to ensure its communication and regulatory strategies met the needs of energy consumers through the program. Participation in the group allowed members to inform the AER about issues that impact on consumers.
The CRG also made it easier for consumer representative groups to have input into the ‘Better regulation’ consultative process without necessarily writing formal submissions.
CRG members were able to distil key issues and information to constituents for consideration, consult and reported back to the AER. This provided a mechanism for coordinated and informed input from a cross-section of consumer groups. The AER provided guidance on where consumer representative groups could invest their limited resources to contribute to future regulatory processes.
The CRG and our assessment of it demonstrated our commitment to communicate in a timely and clear way, and to be accessible and inclusive, transparent and measurable in our engagement activities.