AER seeks people to join its consumer reference group for the review of inflation and the rate of return instrument

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The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is seeking expressions of interest from individuals to establish a highly skilled Consumer Reference Group (CRG) for the Inflation Review 2020 and the Rate of Return Instrument 2022.

The AER is reviewing the treatment of inflation in its regulatory framework, including the method likely to result in the best estimates of expected inflation. This will allow the AER to consider possible changes to its approach.

The Rate of Return Instrument sets out the approach by which the AER will estimate the rate of return, and comprises the return on debt and the return on equity, as well as the value of imputation credits. The AER publishs a new rate of return instrument every four years. The next rate of return instrument is to be published in December 2022 and will bind all regulatory determinations in the subsequent four years.

The role of the Consumer Reference Group

The CRG may carry out its activities, including giving advice or recommendations to the AER about its review of inflation or the rate of return instrument, in the way it considers appropriate. This may include consultation with consumers of electricity and gas, facilitating consumer engagement and making written submissions to the AER about its positions on the regulatory treatment of inflation and/or rate of return instrument and the processes undertaken to reach those positions.

Selection criteria

The CRG will need to collectively possess a range of capabilities to represent the perspectives and interests of consumers in reviews. Individual CRG members need not possess the full skill set. The AER is therefore seeking expressions of interest for the CRG from individuals in relation to the following criteria:

  • Significant experience in one or more of consumer advocacy/engagement, regulatory decision-making, knowledge of the energy sector or other utilities and financial and economic analysis.
  • The ability to critically analyse and assess material authored by the AER, regulated businesses and other stakeholders; with the ability to bring strong evidence based consumer perspective.
  • Excellent communication skills, and the ability to build collaborative relationships with a range of stakeholders and to use these interactions to achieve the objectives of the CRG.
  • Appropriate resource capacity and availability to fulfil the requirements specified in the Appointment Agreement for the proposed term.

Time Commitment and remuneration

All CRG members will be appointed from June 2020 to 30 April 2023.

The estimated time commitment for CRG members is half a day per week.

CRG members will be paid for their services. This will include time spent reading and analysing any materials provided, writing advice, presentations and reports for the AER, and other preparatory activities.

The Request for Expressions of Interest documentation is available to download from Austender.

Questions regarding the REOI must be directed in writing to the Contact Officer and by the question closing time detailed in the REOI documents.

Expressions of interest must be lodged on Austender.

Applications must be received by 2.00pm AEST on 18 May 2020.