The Australian Energy Regulator today announced the re-appointment of Ms Shirli Kirschner as the National Electricity Market Dispute Resolution Adviser.
Ms Kirschner, of Resolve Advisors, has performed the role of NEM Dispute Resolution Adviser since 2001 and has recently also been appointed the dispute resolution adviser for the Victorian gas market. The AER has re-appointed Ms Kirschner as the NEM Dispute Resolution Adviser for a period of three years.
"Ms Kirschner is well-versed in alternative dispute resolution practice and procedures and has a sound understanding of the needs of the energy industry. She has done an excellent job establishing the electricity dispute resolution adviser function on behalf of the AER and we look forward to working with her for a further term," AER Chairman, Mr Steve Edwell, said.
The Dispute Resolution Adviser's role is to ensure that the NEM dispute resolution processes operate effectively. The process is designed to encourage market participants to resolve disputes without formal legal representation or the use of legal procedures. The framework has been developed to be simple, quick and inexpensive, and to preserve relationships between industry participants while observing the rules of natural justice.
"The NEM dispute resolution regime provides a process to resolve disputes swiftly and efficiently," Mr Edwell said. "The framework for resolving disputes in the electricity industry has been operating for a while now and it is clear that market participants benefit from the alternative processes established by the National Electricity Rules."
Under clause 8.2.2 of the National Electricity Rules, the AER must appoint a person or persons from time to time to perform the functions of the Dispute Resolution Adviser. The Dispute Resolution Adviser's role is to ensure the effective operation of the dispute resolution arrangements in the NER. The Adviser is also responsible for keeping market participants informed about dispute resolution processes and for establishing and maintaining the Dispute Resolution Panel (an independent expert panel).
The NER provide for a two step process for dispute resolution. The first stage ("Stage 1") involves an internal dispute resolution process within the participant's organisation. The next stage ("Stage 2") involves the parties either agreeing to the Adviser attempting to resolve the dispute through a private mediation process, or if there is no agreement, referring the dispute to the dispute resolution panel for determination. The panel process is a public process.