The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) regulates energy markets and networks under national energy market legislation and rules. Its functions, which mostly relate to energy markets in eastern and southern Australia, include:
- setting the prices charged for using energy networks (electricity poles and wires and gas pipelines) to transport energy to customers
- monitoring wholesale electricity and gas markets to ensure suppliers comply with the legislation and rules, and taking enforcement action where necessary
- regulating retail energy markets in the ACT, South Australia, Tasmania (electricity only) and New South Wales. This includes enforcing compliance with retail legislation; authorising retailers to sell energy; approving retailers’ policies for dealing with customers in hardship; administering a national retailer of last resort scheme; reporting on retailer performance, educating consumers and small businesses about their energy rights and managing the energy price comparison website – Energy Made Easy
- publishing information on energy markets, including the annual State of the energy market report and more detailed market and compliance reporting, to assist participants and the wider community
- assisting the ACCC with energy-related issues arising under the Competition and Consumer Act, including enforcement, mergers and authorisations.
Governance and decision making
The AER operates under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010(the Act).
The AER Board is an independent entity, comprising three members who are statutory appointments. Ms Paula Conboy is the full-time Chair. The Act provides that one member of the AER must be a commissioner of the ACCC, appointed by the Commonwealth. Ms Cristina Cifuentes was appointed in this role from 30 May 2013. Mr Jim Cox commenced on 9 September 2013 as the acting state/territory appointed member of the AER Board for a 12 month term. Mr Cox was subsequently appointed as full-time Board member for a three year term from 26 June 2014.
The chair must preside at all AER Board meetings and a quorum requires both the chair and the member appointed by the Commonwealth. Questions arising at a meeting must be determined by unanimous vote of the members present and voting.
The AER may make decisions in relation to its functions under the National Electricity Law, National Gas Law and National Energy Retail Law. It can seek an order from the Federal Court that a person is in breach of a relevant energy law.
Decisions of the AER are subject to judicial review by the Federal Court.
The AER publishes annual reports, stakeholders surveys, and a statement of intent which explains our strategic priorities and work program. These publications can be found on the corporate documents web page.
The office of the AER is responsible for providing timely, quality advice to the Board to support its decision-making responsibilities. In consultation with the Board, the office is responsible to the ACCC for governance and efficient management of resources.