AusNet Services Trial

AusNet Services is conducting the trial of the New Reg process in the development of its regulatory proposal for the 2021-25 period. 

For further information on AusNet’s consultation, including opportunities to be involved in the consultation, please see the AusNet Services website. For information on the AER's consultation on New Reg process we direct you to Consultation on New Reg.

Customer forum

The Customer Forum consists of five members and greater detail about each member can be found on the AusNet Services website. Similarly, detail about the selection process for AusNet Services’ Customer Forum is set out in section 3.5 of AusNet Services Early Engagement Plan available below.

Operations and governance

The operations of the trial are guided by its founding documents. These are:

  1. AusNet Services Early Engagement Plan, which was accepted by the AER on 11 March 2018 and which broadly lays out the process by which AusNet will operate the Customer Forum; and
  2. A Memorandum of Understanding between AusNet Services, the AER and the Customer Forum, which formalised governance arrangements for the trial, including key responsibilities and deliverables, funding arrangements and conflict resolution mechanisms, including the role of the Reference Committee.


Recruitment, training and first negotiation period

March 2018 – December 2018

This initial process is broadly split into two key parts:

  1. A first induction and training period, which ran until July 2018 and involved intensive training on the business, the regulatory framework and an investigation of customers’ preferences and issues; and
  2. The first negotiation period, which runs from September 2018 until December 2018, after which AusNet Services’ will release its Regulatory Proposal and the Customer Forum will release its draft engagement report.

Release of regulatory proposal, consultation and second negotiation period

December 2018 – July 2019

Release of AusNet Services’ Regulatory Proposal. The Customer Forum is expected to release its draft Engagement Report, which identifies:

  • matters considered by the Customer Forum;
  • the extent that AusNet Services and the Customer Forum agreed or disagreed on these matters; and
  • how these outcomes reflect the perspectives and preferences of AusNet Services Customers.

AusNet Services will then undertake a period of public consultation, from December 2018 until March 2019. After this, AusNet services will engage in a second negotiation period with the Customer Forum ending in July 2019. This final negotiation will allow the Customer Forum to consider feedback from AusNet's public consultation. At the conclusion of this period the Customer Forum will complete a final Engagement Report, which will be submitted to the AER together with AusNet’s Regulatory Proposal which is due on 31 July 2019.



AER staff play a role in the AusNet Services Trial. This has included providing input on the recruitment of Customer Forum, providing guidance and support to the Customer Forum and agreeing the proposed scope of matters for negotiation.

Consumer Challenge Panel 

The Consumer Challenge Panel (CCP) assists the AER to make better regulatory determinations by providing input on issues of importance to consumers. The CCP17 subpanel, consisting of Mike Swanston, Robyn Robinson, David Prins and Mark Henley, has been assembled for the 2021-25 Victorian electricity distribution determinations. CCP17’s role is to provide advice to the AER on the proposals of all five Victorian electricity distribution businesses. This includes advice on the consumer engagement of the DBs and how it has influenced their respective Regulatory Proposals.

CCP17 is to undertake three specific roles prior to the lodgement of AusNet Services’ revenue proposal with the AER:

  1. Assist the Customer Forum, where requested, in preparing its initial and final Engagement Reports. This involves meetings between the Customer Forum and CCP17 to test their thinking on issues that are in scope, and access the broader perspective of the CCP.
  2. Observe AusNet Services’ consultation on its draft revenue proposal with consumers and other stakeholder groups, focusing on issues that are out-of-scope of the Customer Forum’s negotiation. Where requested by AusNet Services, CCP17 should engage in issues that are not in the scope of the Customer Forum. This means that AusNet Services can consult with CCP, Customer Forum and AER in any ‘deep dives’.
  3. Provide written feedback to the AER on the Customer Forum’s initial Engagement Report and the draft revenue proposal that will be released for broader comment in mid-December 2018. The Customer Forum would have the opportunity to take CCP17’s views into account, along with the views of other consumer groups, in preparing the final Engagement Report.

Beyond making submissions on the distribution businesses’ revenue proposals after they have been lodged, CCP17 would perform its usual role, which includes providing input and challenging the AER on key consumer issues and submitting on the AER’s draft determinations and the distribution businesses’ revised proposals.

Guidance notes

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 1 - How the AER will support the Customer Forum - July 2018 ( PDF 267.83 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 2 - Scope of negotiation - July 2018 ( PDF 340.93 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 3 - Customer experience - August 2018 ( PDF 637.34 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 4 - Opex - August 2018 ( PDF 806.26 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 5 - Augex - August 2018 ( PDF 329.17 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 6 - Revenue Path Profile - August 2018 ( PDF 310.17 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 7 - Customer hardship - 20 August 2018 ( PDF 326.39 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance on AusNet Negotiating Position - August 2018 ( PDF 919.77 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance Note 8 - Negotiation between the Forum ( PDF 402.61 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance note 9 - draft proposal and interim engagement report - March 2019 ( PDF 452.27 KB )

AER - AusNet Trial Staff Guidance note 10 – AusNet’s final negotiating positions - October 2019 ( PDF 286.18 KB )

CCP17 - AusNet Customer Forum Interim Engagement Report Response - May 2019 ( PDF 544.36 KB )