Rule Change: Open
On 10 August 2023, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) published a draft determination and more preferable draft rule that seeks to enhance transmission network service providers (TNSPs) engagement with communities to build and maintain social licence by:
- clarifying that TNSPs are required to engage with stakeholders, as part of preparatory activities, who are reasonably expected to be affected by the development of the actionable Integrated System Plan (ISP) project, future ISP project, or project within a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) stage, including local landowners, local council, local community members and traditional owners.
- clarifying that these local community stakeholders are considered interested parties in respect of the regulatory investment test for transmission (RIT-T). This means that TNSPs are required to consult with local communities during the RIT-T process.
- introducing community engagement expectations for TNSPs when engaging with these local community stakeholders.
These changes would create greater consistency and clarity over TNSPs’ obligations to engage with communities and when and how TNSPs are required to engage.
The AEMC hosted a virtual public forum
The Commission held a stakeholder forum on 29 August 2023. The forum provided an overview of the draft determination and gave stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions.
The forum slides and summary of the forum is available below.
Clear and consistent community engagement is important
We concluded, in the Transmission planning and investment review (TPIR) Stage 2 final report, that it is important to have clear and consistent community engagement during planning for major transmission, to assist TNSPs to build and maintain trust with local communities and to build social licence.
Clear and consistent community engagement helps facilitate proactive and constructive relationships between TNSPs and local communities and improves the quality of planning undertaken by TNSPs for major transmission projects through the identification of risks to timely delivery.
The Rule change request is fast-tracked
Comprehensive consultation has already taken place on the elements of the rule change request. We are therefore using the fast-tracked process for this rule change request. Stakeholders have the opportunity to provide feedback on our draft determination.
The rule change request reflects recommendations made by the Commission in the Transmission planning and investment review Stage 2 final report. In developing the final report, the Commission consulted extensively on the issues and recommendations which are contained within the rule change request.
Rule change request
On 11 April 2023, the AEMC received a rule change request from the Honourable Chris Bowen, Minister for Climate Change and Energy. The proposed rule change seeks to improve social licence for transmission through enhancing engagement with local communities.