Industry Panel Hearing of Review Issues – Communiqué 1 September 2014
The Industry Panel held a public hearing of review issues on 1 September 2014 in Canberra. President Ms Mary Anne Hartley QC, and Members Ms Claire Thomas PSM and Ms Sally Farrier presided.
The Panel President opened the hearing by reminding those present that it is a regulatory review of the price direction handed down by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) in June 2013. Accordingly the Panel is operating under a statute, with a defined task and limited powers. In this context, Ms Hartley explained that certain matters (some of which had been raised in submissions) were not within the Panel's remit.
Ms Hartley reiterated the Panel's intention to complete the review in a timely fashion, while balancing the many considerations that it has to take into account.
Ultimately the Panel's task is to determine if the ICRC decision should stand, or if not to specify the correct or preferable decision in lieu of the ICRC determination. In reaching this decision, the Panel will strive to ensure that any price direction is on balance correct for all parties, including for customers, the shareholders and for ACTEW.
Having considered this statement, the Panel advised the hearing that it accepts that the matters for review identified in ACTEW's statement are worthy of consideration: namely the approach to calculate the rate of return; the return on equity; the two-year period between revenue building block resets; and the calculation of depreciation.
Five submissions were received from the public, in addition to an earlier submission from the Ratepayers Association. All submissions have been considered by the Panel and are published on its website.
The Panel is also undertaking its own investigations and consulting independent technical experts to inform its scrutiny of ACTEW's application for review and its Statement of Facts and Contentions, and relevant regulatory issues.
ACTEW and other persons attending the hearing were then invited to respond to issues raised in the submissions. The following people addressed the Panel: Dr Terry Dwyer, Mr Kevin Cox, Mr Scott Crawford, Ms Marisa Gerussi and Ms Suzanne Vidler (Executive Committee, UP999), Mr David Graham (ACTEW), and Ms Linda Crebbin (ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal).
Ms Hartley then closed the hearing by outlining next steps (below) and thanking all attendees for their considered and often innovative contributions to the Panel's deliberations.
A transcript will be published detailing all attendees and providing a full record of the hearing.
- The Panel is working towards releasing a draft report setting out its proposed price direction in early October.
- Interested parties and the ACT community will then be invited to make further submissions and attend the next public hearing.
- Any timing updates will be advised on the Panel's website and the public hearing will be advertised.
At the Industry Panel Hearing of Review Issues – 1 September 2014, the Industry Panel indicated that the following documents would be published on the Panel's website.