Misleading claims highlight need for independent review

John Bradley, Chief Executive Officer

A claim that energy networks had spent $150 million on appeals to the Australian Competition Tribunal (Battle a waste of energy and cash, The Daily Telegraph, August 29) is misleading and provided without supporting evidence, highlighting the need for independent review.

Actual costs have, in fact, been a fraction of that unsubstantiated claim with the most significant participants, the three New South Wales energy network businesses, spending around $6 million between them.

The article also fails to recognise that, by law, a network provider is prohibited from passing on the costs of appeals to customers. Network businesses meet the cost of these appeals, which correct regulatory errors.

Also by law, the Competition Tribunal can only reject the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision if it would result in a better outcome for customers.

That said, there may be an opportunity to improve the process to reduce the need for multiple appeals by multiple parties.

The Energy Networks Association supports an independent evaluation of potential improvements and options to ensure a less costly appeals process.