Envestra chief calls for abolishment of AER restraints

Envestra chief Ian Little has thrown his weight behind the push to give muscles to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

State governments including New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria have been arguing that with the AER under the jurisdiction of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) - the regulator is failing to do its job of monitoring electricity prices effectively.

The Australian reports that Mr Little is criticising the current arrangement as the commission is negating the use of the AER.

He told the publication: "Because it has been under the ACCC, it is staffed by the ACCC.

"So this culture has developed within the AER that it is a consumer body, simply because of the nature of the people who work there. If that is part of the culture, that's fine but when it permeates the entire culture that is a problem."

He added that the jurisdiction of the AER should not fall under the purview of the treasury as it would be too susceptible to political motivations.

A recent Council of Australian Governments meeting produced some non-committal responses to this issue with summit documents detailing that some ministers expressed concern about the restraints placed upon the AER.

Posted by Charlie Moore