The Australian Energy Regulator has published a draft Better Resets Handbook on consumer-centric network proposals. The draft Handbook sets out how the AER intends to incentivise electricity and gas network businesses to develop regulatory proposals that are well-justified and driven by genuine consumer engagement.

Farrierswier assisted the AER with developing its approach to the Handbook. As part of our work, we prepared a report for the AER exploring how other regulators have sought to incentivise well-justified proposals that reflect consumer preferences and are capable of acceptance by the regulator. Our report sets out a series of insights based on a review of approaches to electricity network regulation in Great Britain and New Zealand and water regulation in Victoria and Scotland.

Consumer engagement by network business has come a long way in recent years with some impressive examples from several Australian businesses. The Handbook can hopefully help drive further improvements by transparently setting out the AER’s expectations for networks’ proposals and how it will reward genuine consumer engagement by placing greater reliance on consumers’ views and undertaking a more targeted review process.

Our report is on the AER’s website here and the AER’s draft Handbook is available here.