Page 1920 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 27 June 2023

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include restrictive contract arrangements, costs associated with the replacement of existing metering infrastructure and a reluctance by other electricity retailers to take on customers in an existing embedded network. The current arrangements for many embedded networks in the ACT mean that customers have little alternative other than to accept the electricity prices set by their embedded network retailer, which precludes them from being able to access more competitive pricing elsewhere.

Following a competitive procurement process that commenced in November 2022, the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate contracted Aurecon Australasia Proprietary Limited to undertake a review of embedded networks in the ACT using the motion passed in this Assembly as the basis for its investigations. Aurecon has reported back to the government and has presented 21 recommendations to address the key risks associated with embedded networks while ensuring the benefits are fairly accrued to the end customer. These recommendations are far reaching and include: amending current legislation to remove the exemption status of embedded network providers; introducing pricing reform for embedded networks; strengthening the visibility and understanding of embedded networks for residents; and engaging with national bodies on national review and reform processes. These recommendations affect multiple ACT government departments and will require a comprehensive, coordinated and considered approach from government to determine the best path forward.

I have instructed the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate to lead and prepare a government response to the issues raised in the review for government consideration. It is critical that we ensure ACT residents have equal and appropriate consumer protections. It should be noted that these reforms are complex and are unlikely to be implemented in the short-term, and I would refer to the Victorian government’s current reform process that aims to have its embedded network reforms completed by 2027. We look to benefit from the experience of the Victorian and New South Wales governments and expedite processes where it is feasible to do so.

As we progress towards a more sustainable city, we need to ensure Canberrans living in new and existing residential apartment developments can get access to the same competitive retail offers and consumer protections that are available to other Canberrans.

Madam Speaker, I commend this review to the Assembly.

I present the following papers:

Review of Embedded Networks in the ACT—

Final Report, dated 12 May 2023.

Embedded Utilities networks—Assembly Resolution of 18 October 2022—Government response—Ministerial statement, 27 June 2023.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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