The Australian Energy Regulator released the Financial reporting guideline for non-scheme pipelines (the Guideline) on 19 December 2017.
The Guideline is a key component of the Gas Pipeline Information Disclosure and Arbitration Framework proposed to the COAG Energy Council by Dr Michael Vertigan. The aim of the framework as defined in the new Part 23 of the National Gas Rules is:
… to facilitate access to pipeline services on non-scheme pipelines on reasonable terms, which … is taken to mean at prices and on other terms and conditions that, so far as practical, reflect the outcomes of a workably competitive market.
Disclosure of the financial information specified in the Guideline is intended to enable prospective users of pipeline services to make an informed decision on the reasonableness of an offer made by the pipeline owner.
Role of the AER
Under the new Part 23 of the NGR, the AER is required to publish and maintain the Guideline.
The financial reporting guideline was developed by the AER, in collaboration with the Gas Market Reform Group (GMRG) and the Economic Regulation Authority Western Australia (ERA), with the assistance of consultants McGrathNicol.
The AER is also required to monitor and enforce compliance of the pipeline operators with the information disclosure requirements set out in the guideline.
Financial reporting guideline
The Guideline specifies the financial and weighted average price information service providers are required to prepare and publish on their website. The information requirements specified in the guideline include:
- a statement of pipeline revenue and expenses
- a statement of pipeline assets
- financial performance metrics
- asset valuation using the recovered capital method
- weighted average price information
- audit assurance
A reporting template accompanies the Guideline to ensure consistency of the data collected and information reported. Service providers are also required to publish a basis of preparation document with the template, setting out the sources of information, allocation methods and assumptions for estimates.
In addition to the financial reporting guideline and template, an explanatory statement has been prepared to provide context to the Guideline. The explanatory statement includes detail on the legislative basis, AER consideration of the costs and benefits of the Guideline, and direction on how the Guideline is to be applied.
On 12 September 2022, the AER released a compliance bulletin providing guidance for non-scheme pipeline service providers on their obligations when disclosing non-financial and financial information.