August update Anne Pearson CE
In 2017-2018, the AEMC completed 15 reviews and 33 rule changes; the most rule changes completed in a single year since our establishment in 2005. Twenty-two rule requests and eight reviews were underway at 30 June.
The consultation and engagement on these projects involved almost one thousand meetings between AEMC staff and stakeholders. Everyone has a part to play in making the energy system and markets work, and we recognise how fortunate we are in our stakeholders’ willingness to commit time and resources to bring about lasting change.
The amplification of our work program reflects market bodies’ and governments’ focus on maintaining security and reliability in the national electricity market; the technological revolution in energy products and services; increased involvement by individual consumers in the rule change process; and concerns about retailer behaviour in light of the significant price rises faced by consumers in recent years.
When we receive a rule request where problems and solutions are easily identified, we make changes quickly. In 2017-2018 we made increased use of the expedited rule making process. Almost half of the 33 rule change requests we completed last year were expedited, up from four the previous year.
The South Australian Parliament has recently approved a change to the legal requirements of the expedited process as recommended in the 2015 review of governance arrangements. Once it receives assent, this will allow for expedited rule changes to be completed within eight weeks instead of six which we expect will facilitate even greater use of this more timely rule-making process by making it possible for us to expedite a bigger number of slightly more complex rule projects.
I am always interested to look at the feedback we receive from our program of online surveys about the effectiveness of the AEMC’s consultation processes. We take every piece of feedback seriously and both complimentary and critical comments are communicated to the project teams, our executive general managers and Commissioners.
Input from stakeholders directly informs changes to our processes, and we continually strive to do more with the resources available to us.
In response to your comments, we recently refreshed our website. Our main areas of focus for the redesign were improving the site’s usability and introducing a comprehensive forward calendar to make it easier for stakeholders to manage their engagement with us. We see our website as an evolving channel and encourage ongoing feedback about how you use and interact with it.
After you told us you would prefer to receive information about new projects before consultation papers are published to give you more time to prepare submissions, we launched a new pending notifications process. On an opt-in basis, we now send a brief email to subscribers when a new rule change request is published on the AEMC’s website.
Most of you would be familiar with the infographics we’ve used for a number of years now to explain the decisions we make made and how they will benefit consumers and market participants. This year we introduced action plans to complement our infographics, drawing together rule changes and reviews related by common objectives or areas of focus and providing regular updates on upcoming publication dates for each workstream.
I hope that giving you some insight into how we incorporate your feedback into the Commission’s processes encourages you to continuing sharing it with us.