Rule Change: Completed
On 15 August 2013, the AEMC published a final determination and final rule on the Reliability Panel (Panel) Public Meetings rule change request. While the AEMC broadly agreed with the Panel that it should be provided more discretion in terms of how it conducts its public meetings, the AEMC has determined to make a more preferable rule which it considers will, or is likely to, better contribute to the achievement of the National Electricity Objective (NEO) than the proposed rule.
The rule as made addresses the issues raised in the rule change proposal as it:
- removes the obligation on the Panel to rotate the location of its public meetings between the capital cities of the jurisdictions in the NEM;
- provides the Panel with the flexibility to decide on the location of its public meetings;
- requires the Panel to invite the public to the meetings that it holds for each determination and review; and
- provides the Panel with the flexibility to decide the manner in which to hold its public meetings (via telephone or videoconference for example).
The final rule differs to the Reliability Panel’s proposed rule as it:
- maintains the requirement on the Panel to hold public meetings;
- provides for the meetings to be open to the public, rather than all Registered Participants and interested parties;
- provides even greater flexibility to the Panel to determine to the location of its public meetings through removing the proposed requirement for the Panel to have regard to the level of interest in a particular matter when deciding the location of a public meeting; and
- clarifies that the Panel can carry out its meetings via any method of communication that it chooses.
On 19 February 2013, the Panel submitted the rule change request to the Commission to amend clause 8.8.3 of the National Electricity Rules (NER), which required the Panel to hold a public meeting for each of its reviews and determinations. Under clause 8.8.3(g), the NER required these meetings to be held in the capital cities of the NEM on a rotating basis. The proposal sought to amend this requirement in the NER, and allow the Panel greater discretion to determine the manner in which it conducts its public meetings. It also sought to amend the NER so that the Panel would be permitted to invite all interested parties to the meetings, instead of just Registered Participants.
The Panel requested that the rule change request be treated as a non-controversial rule under section 96 of the National Electricity Law (NEL). Under section 87 of the NEL, a non-controversial rule is defined as a rule that is unlikely to have a significant effect on the NEM. The AEMC expedited the rule change proposal on the grounds that it considered the proposal to be non-controversial, subject to the receipt of written objections.
The Panel considered that the proposed rule will not impose any additional costs on stakeholders or the market. If made, the rule would reduce the potential financial costs faced by the Panel and its stakeholders in organising and commuting to attend public meetings, and would provide more flexible work practices to the Panel and its stakeholders.
On 4 July 2013 the AEMC published a consultation paper to facilitate stakeholder feedback on the rule change request. Submissions on the expedited process were due by 18 July 2013. Submissions on the content of the proposal were due by 1 August 2013.One submission was received which broadly supported the content of the proposal.