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National Energy Performance Strategy: What’s In it?

National Energy Performance Strategy: What’s In it?

On 5 April, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water released the National Energy Performance Strategy. The strategy is intended to provide a long-term framework to manage energy demand, “so our community can enjoy the economy, climate and health benefits of improved energy performance”. It also designed to contribute to Australia meeting its legislated emissions reduction and renewable energy targets. We take a look at what is included in the strategy.

BY Tom Monaghan Apr 18 2024
How to make the transition to EVs: Inquiry looks for answers

How to make the transition to EVs: Inquiry looks for answers

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water is expected to inquire into and report on the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and has been taking public submissions to inform its considerations. For transport, electrification is the obvious solution to assist this sector begin to decarbonise. Part of the inquiry’s focus is on the issues related to the supply and sale of electricity for EVs and EV integration more broadly. We take a look.

BY David Markham Mar 28 2024
Explainer: Regulated prices and hedging contracts

Explainer: Regulated prices and hedging contracts

Each financial year, Government regulators (the Australian Energy Regulator and the Essential Services Commission in Victoria) set regulated prices – the Default Market Offer in New South Wales, South Australia and South-East Queensland, and a separate Victorian Default Offer (VDO). These take effect on 1 July each year. With the release of the latest draft determinations we take a look at how they are set, and how they came about. We also consider retailers’ approaches to contracting, which is considered as part of the default setting process.

BY Australian Energy Council Mar 21 2024
CER and a changing energy landscape

CER and a changing energy landscape

Australia’s energy landscape is being transformed by the proliferation of consumer energy resources (CER). Already, around one in three Australian homes have solar panels, with one in two expected by 2040, while more than 50,000 small-scale battery systems have been installed in the past seven years. Australia is also predicted to have 22 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2050. A big part of Australia’s energy future is CER, and if well integrated, there will be positive outcomes for all market participants and flow-on benefits for consumers. We take a look at what is being proposed.

BY David Markham Mar 14 2024
High Profile: Calculating consumption for DMO

High Profile: Calculating consumption for DMO

A draft decision on the next Default Market Offer (DMO) – the regulated price set by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) – is expected soon, and there has already been speculation on what it might be. There is interest in particular around the AER seeking stakeholder views on whether the way it calculates the load profile for energy users should change, to take into account smart meter data. We take a look at what is proposed and why.

BY Carl Kitchen Mar 14 2024
Reviewing the Reviews, Part II

Reviewing the Reviews, Part II

The first meeting of the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council (ECMC) for 2024 brought to the fore the extent of change underway in the energy sector. The ECMC’s communique hints at the breadth of reviews and assessments into the energy sector and operations of the National Electricity Market (NEM). It's part of a now long-established pattern. For well over a decade, energy has been at the forefront of policy developments, largely because of the significant changes to our grid. Along with those changes has come a heightened political involvement. With political interest has come a myriad of reviews, assessments and interventions to make the NEM “fit for purpose”. We take a look at the latest ECMC work and the extent of reviews underway.

BY Carl Kitchen Mar 07 2024
Fuel efficiency standards: Driving emission reductions in transport

Fuel efficiency standards: Driving emission reductions in transport

The release of the Federal Government’s preferred option for an Australian fuel efficiency standard has quickly fallen into another version of the so-called climate wars while also being firmly couched as a ‘cost of living’ and ‘loss of vehicle choice’ issue. The Government’s proposal is for an “ambitious but achievable” standard that would allow Australia to catch up to markets like the US.

BY Carl Kitchen Feb 29 2024
Green schemes: What are they and how are they causing greater inequality?

Green schemes: What are they and how are they causing greater inequality?

For the past two decades, state and federal governments have introduced various policies aimed at incentivising households and businesses to be more energy efficient and to support renewable technologies, which are often referred to as ‘green schemes’ or ‘environmental schemes’. While well intentioned, the cost of these schemes are typically passed onto consumers through electricity bills, impacting energy affordability for some users.

BY Tom Monaghan Feb 22 2024
Embedded networks, regulation and energy innovation: Is IPART on the right track?

Embedded networks, regulation and energy innovation: Is IPART on the right track?

The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has undertaken a review of embedded networks and is grappling with how best to set prices to reach its objectives to incentivise customers and embedded network sellers to supply and use energy efficiently as well as enabling the efficient use of energy and encouraging sustainable energy solutions and accommodating innovation and investment in the energy sector. Not a simple task. Are they on the right track? We take a look.

BY David Markham Feb 15 2024
New Year, new regulated pricing approaches?

New Year, new regulated pricing approaches?

Consultations are underway for the setting of the default market offers in 2024. Both the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and the Essential Services Commission (ESC) in Victoria and have released early papers outlining their key areas of focus. In comparing the two approaches, the AER appears to be undergoing a more detailed review, whereas the ESC seems to be more settled in its methodology overall. We take a look at the approaches being undertaken.

BY Jo De Silva Dec 07 2023
Industry funding for financial counselling services

Industry funding for financial counselling services

Earlier this week, the Federal Government and a group of industry bodies announced a partnership to co-fund an Industry Funded Financial Counselling body, designed to bring together industry and the financial counselling sector to enable better support for Australian consumers. We take a look at the announcement, and highlight some opportunities and risks for the funding body as it enters its development phase.

BY Ben Barnes Nov 23 2023
Going over and above

Going over and above

Retailers take their role as providers of essential services very seriously and the intensive monitoring and reporting of their obligations illustrates this. But these regulatory obligations merely represent a part of their extensive support programs. The willingness of retailers to invest further in supporting customers in need is a sign of their broader customer commitment. We take a closer look at the additional support retailers provide to their customers.

BY Jo De Silva Nov 02 2023
Consumer affordability trends in the retail energy market

Consumer affordability trends in the retail energy market

The recent AER State of The Energy Market report highlights customer affordability trends in the retail electricity market, as well as market impacts from the increasing efficiency of homes and demand response technologies. The report also looks at hardship programs offered by retailers and other support available to consumers.

BY Australian Energy Council Oct 26 2023
Rushing to the finish line: Can we clear the hurdles on the way to 100% smart meters by 2030?

Rushing to the finish line: Can we clear the hurdles on the way to 100% smart meters by 2030?

Last month, a report by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) recommended that the deployment of smart meters across the National Electricity Market (excluding Victoria) should be accelerated so we achieve 100 per cent uptake among small customers by 2030. The AEMC argues that achieving a critical mass of smart meter deployment in a far timelier manner will deliver greater benefits for customers and support the wider decarbonisation of the energy market. But what are the hurdles that will need to be cleared on the way to the finish line? We take a look.

BY Braeden Keen Sep 21 2023
Supporting customers with high energy costs: A retailer perspective

Supporting customers with high energy costs: A retailer perspective

We take a look inside energy retail businesses to see what support is offered to customers facing hardship. While retailers have a range of relevant regulatory obligations, their programs go over and above their obligations to help customers in payment difficulty or at risk of payment difficulty. Retailers take their role as providers of essential services very seriously and the intensive monitoring and reporting of their obligations illustrates this.

BY Jo De Silva Sep 14 2023
AEC Analysis: Retail Market Performance Indicators

AEC Analysis: Retail Market Performance Indicators

Governments, regulators and consumer advocates are taking more interest than ever in monitoring the retail energy market, and everyone has a view on what is working and what is going wrong. In this climate, the release of both the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and the Victorian Essential Services Commission’s (ESC) market performance indicators for the third quarter of 2023 provides a useful datapoint to assess how retailers are tracking, and how customers are managing their energy bills. We take a deep dive into the numbers, and provide some context on their drivers.

BY Ben Barnes Jul 06 2023
Electrifying moves

Electrifying moves

This week the ACT Government announced increased support for residents to electrify their homes. More broadly electrification of homes continues to be the subject of much discussion with a new Grattan Institute report recommending ways to encourage households to shift from gas, the announcement of a Senate inquiry into home electrification and an AER review underway. We take a closer look at the new developments and some of the implications.

BY Carl Kitchen Jun 29 2023
Default Prices: A fine balancing act

Default Prices: A fine balancing act

There has been much attention on recent regulated electricity tariffs in an environment where cost-of-living pressures continue to bite. The process of setting a regulated price tries to cater for industry and consumer needs but it is not a simple case of giving more to one than the other. The best-case scenario of a regulated price will see competition dampened. But in the worst scenario, retailers will go out of business, as was seen last week with two more retailer failures. We take a look at the latest decisions and what market indicators say about the effectiveness of the policies overall.

BY Jo De Silva Jun 22 2023
Why it’s important to have good standards

Why it’s important to have good standards

There is so much going on in the Consumer Energy Resources (CER) space it’s difficult to keep track. There’s record uptake of rooftop solar, VPP trials, advanced trials for a CER marketplace. Market bodies and regulators are making efforts to enable consumer uptake of CER with reforms and technical standards. Those standards will strongly influence how CER operate, interact with the grid and what benefit owners ultimately derive. Here we take a closer look at how they work and consider why it’s important for stakeholders to get involved.

BY David Markham May 25 2023
Holding the line – price regulation during a cost-of-living crisis

Holding the line – price regulation during a cost-of-living crisis

Price regulation is tricky at any time but setting annual prices in the complex system of electricity…this year – is a particular challenge. Regulated prices form a significant input to retailers’ revenue forecasts and impact their product design, pricing and wholesale portfolio risk management strategies – often set-up more than a year in advance. So it’s vitally important for market stability that regulators apply principle-based methodologies consistently across periods. Here we have undertaken a detailed look at how the methodologies used by the AER and Victoria’s ESC compare and arrived at their recent draft determinations.

BY Jane Sing Apr 20 2023
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