Amendments to the electricity and gas limited merits review regime

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The South Australian parliament has passed amendments to the National Electricity Law (NEL) and the National Gas Law (NGL) to give effect to the policy position of the Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER) in relation to the limited merits review regime.

While in the course of consulting with stakeholders the SCER explored radical reforms to the merits review regime, the amendments to the NEL and NGL retain much of the existing regime and focus primarily on ensuring that decisions by regulators and, on review by the Australian Competition Tribunal, reflect the overarching primacy of the national electricity objective (NEO) and the national gas objective (NGO).

While DLA Piper does not anticipate the changes will effect radical change to the review rights of regulated energy network businesses, some changes will need to be the subject of consideration by the Australian Competition Tribunal before there can be any certainty around the operation of the regime. In addition, the longer-term future of the merits review regime remains uncertain as the Ministerial Council on Energy must initiate a review of the tribunal’s role under the NEL and NGL by 1 December 2016…

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