Due to changes to the NER in 2015 relating to ring fencing and wide stakeholder interest in developing a robust ring-fencing guideline, we have decided to commence a new consultation process rather than recommence the previously suspended review. Nevertheless, the work we have done already and the contributions from stakeholders received to date will form a basis for developing a new ring-fencing guideline. Submissions received to the now superseded ring-fencing guideline will be considered in the new process.
On 1 December 2011, the AER released a discussion paper on the electricity distribution ring-fencing guidelines. We considered submissions on the discussion paper and on 4 September 2012 released a Position paper setting out our view on whether or not a nationally consistent Distribution Ring-Fencing Guideline should be developed. Based on that assessment, our preferred position was to develop a national ring-fencing guideline to apply to electricity distributors in the NEM. Submissions to the position paper closed in September 2012. In response to submissions received, we commenced developing a framework for electricity distribution ring-fencing, providing greater detail around the arrangements and obligations that may apply.
Late in 2012, we decided to defer any further consultation on the development of electricity distribution ring-fencing guidelines. Our decision was made after reviewing the volume of work being undertaken by electricity consumer groups and service providers for the Better Regulation review in 2013. We considered the Better Regulation review would adversely impact on time and resources available for stakeholders to participate in a ring-fencing guideline development process. We also recognised the development of a more robust set of ring fencing guidelines could arise following rule changes stemming from the Australian Energy Market Commission's Power of Choice review.