The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) could regulate the Western Australian electricity network, under new legislation introduced to state parliament.
Western Australia Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the legislation would allow the state to adopt the National Electricity Law for the regulation of Western Power’s electricity network, bringing it in line with all other states and territories, and helping pave the way for a more efficient energy sector.
Dr Nahan said the AER would be the economic regulator for WA’s electricity network and gas pipelines, meaning better regulatory decision-making through access to the capability, experience and regulatory expertise of a specialised energy market regulator.
Dr Nahan also said the change would offer significant benefits for electricity consumers and the state’s economy by improving access to the network for low-cost renewable generation and reducing connection costs.
“Through the Liberal National Government’s Electricity Market Review (EMR), we are working to ensure WA’s electricity industry embraces the exciting technological advances and changes in the way people are using electricity,” Dr Nahan said.
“It is critical the regulation of Western Power’s network is measured against national benchmarks to ensure network costs are kept at efficient levels.
“The AER will ensure electricity consumers pay no more than necessary for access to Western Power’s poles and wires for the safe and reliable delivery of electricity.
“This legislation demonstrates the state government’s commitment to regulatory reform across critical sectors of the Western Australian economy to become more efficient, open and transparent while ensuring best practices are adopted.”
Dr Nahan said the safety and reliability of the Western Power network would continue to be monitored and regulated by State Government agencies, with existing safety standards remaining.
“The National Electricity Law will improve access to the Western Power network for low-cost renewable generation, and reduce connection costs for businesses and household electricity customers,” Dr Nahan said.