Distribution network pricing arrangements
The AEMC received rule change requests from IPART and the COAG Energy Council that proposed changes to the way distribution network prices are developed and structured.
The rule change request from the COAG Energy Council responded to recommendations made in the Power of Choice review to provide efficient and flexible pricing options to consumers to help them make informed consumption choices and manage their expenditure. Due to a significant overlap of issues, the two rule change requests were consolidated and considered together.
A final determination was published on 27 November 2014. Further information about the rule change request is available here.
Reform of the Demand Management and Embedded Generation Connection Incentive Scheme
The AEMC received rule change requests from the COAG Energy Council and the Total Environment Centre regarding reform of the existing demand management and embedded generation connection incentive scheme in the National Electricity Rules.
The objective of these rule change requests was to provide an appropriate return to distribution network service providers to incentivise efficient demand management projects, as well as improve clarity and certainty regarding how the scheme will be developed and implemented.
A Final Determination was published on 20 August 2015. Further information about the rule change is available here.
The AEMC has received a rule change request from AEMO that proposes changes to the NER to:
clarify metering and other arrangements for consumers in embedded networks;
reduce the barriers to consumer access to competitive offers from market participants.
A Final Determination was published on 17 December 2015. Further information is available here.
Competition in metering and related services
On 26 November 2015, the AEMC made a final rule that will open up competition in metering services and will give consumers more opportunities to access a wider range of services.
The final rule was made in response to a rule change request from the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Energy Council. The Commission’s final rule is a more preferable rule, but contains many of the elements of the COAG Energy Council’s rule change request.
The competitive framework is designed to promote innovation and lead to investment in advanced meters that deliver services valued by consumers at a price they are willing to pay. Improved access to the services enabled by advanced meters will provide consumers with opportunities to better understand and take control of their electricity consumption and the costs associated with their usage decisions.
The new arrangements, which will commence on 1 December 2017, have required changes to the National Electricity Rules (NER) and the National Electricity Retail Rules (NERR).
Further information is available here.
Advice on open access and common communication standards
On 10 April 2014, the AEMC published advice on a framework for open access and common communication standards for advanced meters. The AEMC’s recommendations formed a first step to establishing a competitive market for the services enabled by advanced meters.
Further information is available here.
Implementation advice on the shared market protocol
The AEMC’s advice on open access and common communication standards recommended the adoption of a shared market protocol. A shared market protocol will define a format of communication that can be used between parties accessing the services enabled by advanced meters.
The AEMC published its final advice on the implementation of a shared market protocol on 8 October 2015. Further information is available here.
Updating the electricity B2B framework
The AEMC received two rule change requests from the COAG Energy Council and market participants Red Energy and Lumo Energy. The changes aim to update the business to business (B2B) arrangements in the NER to provide for parties using advanced metering services.
These rule change requests were submitted following the AEMC’s advice on implementing a shared market protocol, which recommended changes to the B2B framework.
The AEMC decided to consolidate these rule change requests as they seek to address similar issues.
The final rule (which is a more preferable rule) was published 30 June 2016. It amends the NER to provide for a wider range of services being available through small customer meters as well as providing for any additional parties that may be interested in providing or accessing those services. Further information is available here.
Multiple trading relationships
On 25 February 2016, the AEMC decided to not make a rule on the Multiple Trading Relationships (MTR) rule change request. The rule change request follows earlier work by the AEMC as part of the Power of Choice and Electric Vehicles reviews to develop a new framework to better enable customers to set up MTR arrangements.
MTR refers to the ability of a customer to engage with multiple retailers at a premises. Under the current National Electricity Rules, customers can already engage with multiple retailers by establishing a second connection point. The rule change request was intended to make it easier for customers to engage with multiple retailers.
Since the AEMC’s initial work was completed, however, market conditions changed which limited the potential benefits of the proposed framework. These limited potential benefits were not expected to outweigh the significant costs to implement it. Additionally, the current rules were found to better support MTR than initially thought.
Further information is available - here.
Customer access to information about their energy consumption
In October 2013 the COAG Energy Council submitted a rule change request that proposes to make it easier for customers to access their electricity consumption data from their retailer or distributor in an understandable format and in a timely manner.
This rule change request is expected to improve consumers’ awareness of their patterns of electricity use and enable customers to make more informed choices about electricity products and services.
A final determination was published on 6 November 2014. Further information about the rule change request is available here.
Review of electricity customer switching
On 10 April 2014, the AEMC published a review into electricity consumer switching timeframes. The review made several recommendations to the COAG Energy Council on how the consumer transfer process can be made more timely and accurate. The COAG Energy Council requested AEMO to take action on two of the recommendations. It included another two of the recommendations in the rule change request on improving the accuracy of customer transfers, and included one of the recommendations in the rule change request on using estimated reads for customer transfers. Consultation papers for these rule change requests were published on 28 April 2016.
Further information about the review is available here. Further information about the transfer accuracy rule change request is available here. Further information about the estimated reads rule change request is available here.
Improving demand side participation information provided to AEMO
The AEMC received a rule change request from the COAG Energy Council that would enable AEMO to obtain better demand side participation information from registered participants for the purpose of its load forecasts under the National Electricity Rules.
Better information on demand side participation, and so better informed load forecasts could lead to more informed investment and operational decisions, which is in the long term interests of consumers.
The AEMC published a final determination on this rule change request on 26 March 2015. Further information is available here.