AEMC welcomes change to expedited process

The Australian Energy Market Commission is required by law to make rules according to set timeframes which include formal consultation with stakeholders.

This system was established by the COAG Energy Council ministers. So that less complex rules can be made faster there are three timeframes – standard, expedited and fast-tracked.

The AEMC’s General Counsel Catriona Webster today welcomed the COAG Energy Council’s decision to change the timeframe for the expedited rule-making process which opens with stakeholder consultation and goes straight to a final determination.

“From this month the expedited process timeframe moves from six to eight weeks –providing more time for the AEMC to consider valuable stakeholder feedback received during the consultation period before making final decisions,” Ms Webster said.

“Seventeen of the 33 rule changes we completed in 2017-2018 were expedited or fast-tracked, and we intend to continue with this increased use of the expedited process where appropriate.

“We seek to complete rules as fast as possible but feedback received from meaningful public consultation is a key part of our decision-making process. The additional time for the AEMC to consider stakeholder feedback will allow us to use the expedited process for more non-controversial rule changes than we currently do” Ms Webster said.

This expedited process change was proposed in Dr Michael Vertigan’s Review of Governance Arrangements and in December 2015 the COAG Energy Council committed to implementing the review’s recommendations.

Dr Alan Finkel’s 2017 Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market recommended the legislative change from six to eight weeks be implemented as soon as possible.

When the AEMC receives a rule request where problems and solutions are easily identified, we make changes quickly. We have the opportunity to expedite the rule-making process when a stakeholder request is for a non-controversial or urgent rule.

Under the expedited process there is only one round of consultation on the rule change and no draft determination is made. A final determination must be made within eight weeks of the initiation of the rule change request. The additional two weeks will allow additional time for the AEMC to consider stakeholder feedback on expedited rule changes.

The Statutes Amendment (National Energy Laws) (Rules) Act 2018 commenced on 20 September 2018 and will apply to all new requests for rule changes initiated under the expedited rule change process.