The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has published the draft Pipeline Access Dispute Guide for consultation.
The draft Guide is part of the AER’s work arising under the new gas pipeline regulatory framework, which commenced in March 2023. It is intended to provide guidance to arbitrators, mediators and those who may become a party to an access dispute, about the access dispute process under the NGR and NGL.
The Guide covers issues such as:
- the pathways to resolve an access dispute under the NGR and NGL
- the procedures for starting an access dispute and the hearing of access disputes
- matters that the AER, arbitrator or mediator must consider in deciding how to resolve the dispute, and the effect of their decisions
- procedural issues involved in the dispute resolution process.
Invitation for submissions
Interested stakeholders are invited to make submissions on the draft Guide by 26 October 2023. We are seeking views on any aspects of the draft Guide, including whether it should include model terms and conditions for mediations or arbitrations, or procedures for arbitrations, and, if so, what these should be.
Submissions or queries about this consultation should be emailed to: AERgasreformaer [dot] gov [dot] au (AERgasreform[at]aer[dot]gov[dot]au).
We expect to publish the final Guide by the end of 2023, following consideration of stakeholder views.
The gas pipeline reforms to the National Gas Law and the National Gas Rules commenced on 2 March 2023, making several changes to the way that gas pipelines are regulated in Australia.
The reforms made changes to the framework for resolving gas pipeline access disputes between users and prospective users, and service providers under the National Gas Law (NGL) and the National Gas Rules (NGR), including:
- making the provisions to raise and resolve access disputes for scheme (fully regulated) and non-scheme (light regulated) pipelines more consistent
- strengthening the process for resolving scheme pipelines disputes by setting out matters that must be taken into account in resolving an access dispute and introducing the option to fast-track a dispute
- making it easier for small shippers to participate in, and raise, an access dispute by:
- ensuring that costs will not be awarded against them in disputes,
- allowing user bodies to be joined in a proceeding, and
- allowing small shippers to elect to resolve the dispute through mediation, a more informal process.
An overview of the reforms is available from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website.