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Annual Report 2014/2015 Utilities Commission



Annual Report 2014/2015 Utilities Commission

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Tabled paper 1571


Tabled Papers for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






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2 During the year, the Commission focused on the need for licensees to maintain adequate compliance systems and processes to ensure compliance with the relevant regulatory obligations. In 2015, the Commission prepared draft Compliance Framework and Reporting Guidelines to complement its Statement of Approach on Compliance. The draft guidelines were published for consultation in July 2015 and will be finalised in October 2015. The Guidelines include a requirement for annual compliance declarations by licensees. The Territory Government has previously indicated that, subject to suitable arrangements for the transfer of network access and price regulation to the AER, the Commission would be wound up, during 2015-16, with licensing, technical, network reliability standards and performance monitoring, and economic regulation of water and sewerage services being assigned from that time to relevant agencies.1 The Commissions view is that, as far as possible, regulation of the Territorys electricity sector should be transferred to institutions in the National Electricity Market (NEM) (that is, AER, AEMO and Australian Energy Market Commission), in effect through the Territory joining the NEM. These institutions would have similar roles in the Territory as in current NEM jurisdictions, although it may be necessary to incorporate some specifics for the Territory electricity market. Such an undertaking would likely require a transitional period of up to four years, as well as a concerted, coordinated and well-resourced effort with extensive engagement with relevant stakeholders. At present, the Commission continues to have a significant regulatory and advisory role, a situation that is likely to continue for several years. Legislation commenced in June 2015 establishing a port access and price regulation regime to apply to the Port of Darwin once a private port operator is appointed. Under the new regime, the Commission will be the economic regulator with responsibilities including approving a port operators access policy, undertaking price monitoring and reviewing the operation of the regime in three years, and then every five years thereafter. Recognising the ongoing work of the Commission, the Minister reappointed Associate Commissioners Peter Caldwell and Mike Robson for a further 12 months to 30 June 2016. I welcome the reappointments and the experience, knowledge and professionalism both Associate Commissioners bring to the work of the Commission. I thank my fellow Commissioners, Peter Caldwell and Mike Robson, for their contributions to the work of the Commission during the year and the staff of the Commission for the assistance and support they have provided to all Commissioners. I commend the staff for their commitment and professionalism as displayed through the conduct of their work and the achievements of 2014-15. I also thank the various stakeholders who have engaged with the Commission during its various regulatory processes in 2014-15. Dr Patrick Walsh Utilities Commissioner 1 Northern Territory Electricity Market Reform, Information Paper, Department of Treasury and Finance, February 2014, www.treasury.nt.gov.au/Pages/Northern-Territory-Electricity-Market-Reforms.aspx