Terms of Reference

Inquiry into the performance and management of electricity network companies

On 2 October 2014, the Senate agreed that the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day in March 2015:

(a) the manner in which electricity network companies have presented information to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), and whether they have misled the AER in relation to:

    (i)    their weighted average costs of capital, 

    (ii)    the necessity for the infrastructure proposed,

    (iii)    their regulated asset valuations, and

    (iv)    actual interests rates claimed against actual borrowing costs;

(b)    how electricity companies, including state government owned electricity companies such as Energex, have calculated the weighted average cost of capital and how this measure has changed over time;

(c)    where anomalies are identified in relation to price structuring or allegations of price rorting by electricity companies, such as Energex, are raised, the possibility of these matters being investigated by a national independent body created by the Federal Government with the required powers and reach to investigate and prosecute, where necessary;

(d)    to ascertain whether state-owned network companies have prioritised their focus on future privatisation proceeds above the interests of energy users;

(e)    whether the arrangements for the regulation of the cost of capital are delivering allowed rates of return above the actual cost of capital;

(f)    whether the AER has actively pursued lowest-cost outcomes for energy consumers;

(g)    whether network monopolies should have the right to recover historic overspending that has delivered unwanted and unused infrastructure;

(h)    how the regulatory structure and system could be improved;

(i)    whether the arrangements for the connection and pricing of network services is discriminating against households and businesses that are involved in their own electricity production;

(j)    whether the current system provides adequate oversight of electricity network companies; and

(k)    any other related matter.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3526

About this inquiry

How electricity network companies have calculated and presented costings and infrastructure changes and the effects on energy users, including anomalies, possible rorting or discrimination.

Past Public Hearings

24 Mar 2015: Canberra
19 Feb 2015: Adelaide
18 Feb 2015: Melbourne


Inquiry Status

Final report tabled


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