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Gas distribution charges

Gas Access Arrangement Review (GAAR)

 

Our Gas Network

We own and operate one of the 3 Victorian gas networks. Our 11,000km gas distribution network covers an area of more than 60,000 square kilometres in central and western Victoria. We deliver gas to approximately 760,000 homes and businesses.

Gas is an important part of the energy mix in Victoria. Our customers use gas primarily for cooking, heating, hot water and/or a range of industrial processes.

Victorians are far more reliant on gas more than any other state. More than 4 in 5 Victorian homes are connected to gas, and the gas networks currently provide more energy than the electricity networks.

 

The Gas Access Arrangement Review (GAAR)

Regulation of Australian gas distribution is the responsibility of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), which falls under a national framework.

Every 5 years, we, along with other gas distributors across Victoria, are required to submit a plan proposal to the AER. This plan outlines the services we will offer customers, the costs to deliver those services, and the plan for how we will use money collected via the distribution charge on customers’ bills over the next regulatory period (5 years). This process is known as the Gas Access Arrangement Review (GAAR).

Our current regulatory period expires on 30 June 2023.  Read our current (2018 – 2022) Gas Access Arrangement.

On 1 July 2022, we will submit our proposal for the upcoming regulatory period, 1 July 2023 to 31 June 2028 (2024-28), to the AER for review.

We have been engaging extensively with customers and other stakeholders throughout 2021 to understand their needs and expectations of our network, and ensure they are reflected in our plans.

We have now published our draft proposal for public consultation. The draft proposal is a customer-friendly document which sets out (at a high level) our proposed strategy, pricing and activities for the upcoming regulatory period. It focuses on customer as well as stakeholders’ needs of our network, and what our 2024-2028 plans will mean for them.

The high-level timeline below shows the steps we are taking to develop and deliver our proposal, from the initial consultation through to the final decision (approval) by the AER.

 

Image of high level timeline

 

Customer focused planning

Understanding the needs and preferences of our customers helps us develop the best possible plans for our network each period. Knowing what is important to our customers allows us to allocate resources to the things that really matter and ensure our services represent good services and value for customers. In addition, when the AER assesses our plans, it looks for evidence that our plans meet the long-term interests of customers, as is required under the National Gas Law.

As part of the submission process, we engage extensively with customers and other stakeholders.

Much of our engagement for the 2024-2028 GAAR proposal is being undertaken jointly with the other 2 Victorian gas networks – Australian Gas Networks (AGN) and Multinet Gas Networks (MGN). They are developing their plans at the same time. Holding joint forums and committees makes it easier for customers and other stakeholders to have their views on the future of Victoria’s gas networks heard. View our joint Engagement Plan.

The draft plan provides an overview of the research and engagement activities that have informed its contents, including:

  • Customer workshops – multiple independently facilitated workshops with a wide range of customers from across Victoria
  • Future of Gas expert panel - a series of industry expert forums
  • Major users customer forum - a series of engagements with our largest gas user stakeholders
  • Future of Gas - a series of workshops with industry experts including the manufacturing, hydrogen, energy, climate change and the gas industry as well as AEMO, Clean Energy Council, ECA and CSIRO
  • Victorian Gas Networks Stakeholder Roundtable (VGNSR) - a series of workshops with a wide range of stakeholders including residential, community, business, major users and the building industry
  • Retailer Reference Group (RRG) - a series of workshops with various retailers
  • Priority Services Program (PSP) Advisory Group - working with customer advocates and support organisations to design a program for customers that require additional support.

 

We are covering many topics in these conversations with customers and other stakeholders. We have been largely guided by customers and stakeholders on the topics we are discussing. They include, but are not limited to:

  • the role of gas networks in a zero-carbon economy, and how we best prepare for the possible scenarios that eventuate
  • price and affordability of gas 
  • customer service, including for those in vulnerable circumstances
  • reliability and continuity of supply
  • public health and safety
  • major investments including mains replacement works, IT and new projects
  • innovation
  • demand forecasting, and
  • incentive schemes.     

 

Have your say

We welcome feedback from customers and stakeholders at any time as we develop our plans.

We have now published our draft proposal for public review and comment, we encourage all interested parties to let us know what they think of it. We will be using this feedback to refine our plans before we submit them to the AER in July 2022.

Working with, and keeping our customers front of mind during the process, we believe we are delivering a plan that reflects what customers want and need from the network in the coming years an also lays the groundwork for a smooth transition to net zero emissions energy.

While there is no deadline for feedback, we encourage you to share your feedback by the end of March 2022 to give us time to consider it and make changes to our plans prior to submitting our draft plans to the AER.


More information

View our draft Regulatory Proposal Gas Access Arrangement Review FY 2024-28 (PDF, 2.5mb)

 

View our Engagement Plan (PDF, 1mb)

 

For details of past and upcoming engagement activities being undertaken as part of our joint engagement program with AGN and MGN, please head to our joint engagement portal.

If you would like to learn more about our GAAR 2024-2028 engagement program or provide feedback, please email 2024-28GAAR@ausnetservices.com.au