Active search icon

Industry leading trial of direct negotiation with a Customer Forum

As part of our customer engagement, we will be the first Australian utility business to trial a new process that places customers at the heart of developing our expenditure plans. This new process involves the establishment of a Customer Forum that is capable of representing the perspective of our customers. This document describes the process we undertook to recruit and select the five Customer Forum members. We will seek to negotiate our 2021-25 regulatory proposal with the Customer Forum, before it is published for public consultation later in 2018 and then formally submitted to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) in July 2019. We have strong support from consumer advocates and the AER for this trial. The AER will also play an important role in guiding and providing input to this new process. Further information and AER documentation relating to the trial process can be found on the AER’s website.

Beyond enhancing the way we listen to our customers, this is an exciting and innovative approach that aims to ensure that AusNet Services’ plans for the 2021-25 period genuinely reflect the preferences and perspectives of our customers.

The arrangements for the Customer Forum have been developed in consultation with the AER and Energy Consumers Australia.
The arrangements are documented in an Early Engagement Plan (EEP), which has been formally submitted to the AER for approval.

The EEP is intended to be a living document that will be updated to reflect progress and insights gained throughout the Customer Forum process. 

If you would like more information or have any comments on the trial process, please contact Charlotte Eddy, Manager Economic Regulation on 03 9695 6309 or or Robert Ball, Regulatory Customer Liaison on 03 9695 6281 or .

Stakeholder engagement

In addition to its monthly meeting with AusNet Services, since its inception in March 2018 the Customer Forum has been engaging with a range of other stakeholders to the 2021-25 Electricity Distribution Price Review. This is to ensure the Customer Forum’s negotiations with AusNet Services this year are informed by the concerns, preferences and priorities of the broad range of stakeholders to the process, including customers, consumer advocates and community groups.

This stakeholder engagement is supplementary to the in-depth customer research program currently being undertaken by AusNet Services. This research program, which the Customer Forum has helped to shape and will have regard to during negotiations with AusNet Services, includes one-on-one interviews with residential and large customers, quantitative surveys and Focus Groups.

The table summarises the stakeholder engagement activities conducted to date, and the activities planned in the lead up to the publication of a draft regulatory proposal in December 2018.

Presentations and material

Click on each section heading below for presentations and materials presented during recent customer forums.

Timeline (click to enlarge)
EDPR timeline