The Australian Energy Regulator today provided an update on a range of measures designed to give consumers a greater voice in the energy regulatory process.
In a speech to the Energy Users Association of Australia, AER Chairman Andrew Reeves said changes to both the rules framework and to the AER's processes are a part of making the energy market work better for consumers.
"The AER is working with consumer groups and network businesses, to develop a series of guidelines that clearly set out our approach to regulation under the new rules."
Mr Reeves said the AER has established a consumer reference group to make it easier for consumer representatives to have input.
"A key area of focus for recent energy market reforms has been on increased consumer participation and engagement," Mr Reeves said.
"For the first time, there is a regulatory requirement for network businesses to consult with their consumers in the development of their regulatory proposal. And, the AER is now required to take into account this consultation when considering the proposal."
The Chairman also provided an overview on the Consumer Challenge Panel, which will provide expert advice during the AER’s assessment of energy network businesses’ regulatory proposals. The panel will be established by 1 July this year.
"The panel is designed to ensure that consumers’ views, particularly those of residential and small business consumers, are properly considered by the AER throughout regulatory processes," Mr Reeves said.
Mr Reeves said a new regulatory framework with a focus on better consumer involvement and engagement represents a major development in the market.