The Australian Energy Market Commission has published a draft determination to implement a range of improvements to the regulation of covered gas pipelines. The draft determination follows a COAG Energy Council rule change request based on recommendations in the AEMC’s recent review into the scope of economic regulation applied to covered pipelines

Today’s draft rules aim to address concerns that customers may be paying more than necessary for gas pipeline services. The draft rules should help pipeline users negotiate lower prices and better terms for their gas transportation agreements, resulting in lower gas prices for customers. 

Specifically, the draft rules would make access arrangements more relevant to a wider range of used and useful pipeline services. Also, the changes would help regulators make better informed decisions on setting reference prices.  This would enable prices to be set at more efficient levels and contract terms to be more balanced. 

Reporting obligations would also be strengthened to support more balanced negotiations. Pipeline owners would be required to provide more relevant, timely and accessible information for pipeline users through the Natural Gas Bulletin Board or on the pipeline owners’ websites. 

Additionally, the draft rules would give stakeholders, including pipeline users, more input into regulators’ decisions on access arrangements. 

The Commission has also considered how the draft rule would be implemented and its interaction with access arrangements and the implementation of non-access arrangement amendments. 

As we consulted extensively on the issues and recommendations contained within the rule change request through our recent review, a fast track process is being used for this request, with no first round of consultation.

Stakeholders are invited to make submissions on the draft determination by 31 January 2019 (the consultation period has been extended to eight weeks to allow for the Christmas period). A final determination is due in March 2019.

Media: Prudence Anderson, Communication Director, 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817