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Regulation ramification concerns continue

EPIC Energy’s submission on tariffs was put to the regulator more than two and a half years ago, and many have expressed concern at the time taken to reach agreement on charges.

However, apart from specific potential outcomes, most industry comment has centred on policy and regulation ramifications.

Epic chief executive Sue Ortenstone believed the WA Government should have become involved, to support the development argument, while not interfering in the process.

Regulators were restricted to interpreting policy, but politicians developed these policies, she said, and should look at the long-term aspects surrounding their interpretation.

Some industry groups have criticised approaches to regulation as being too theoretical and prescriptive.

Australian Council for Infrastructure chief executive officer Dennis O’Neill interpreted the decision as “unequivocal signals to the Federal Government” for the need to simplify regulatory frameworks.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA welcomed the court judgment for the clarity it provided on the role of the independent regulator and on interpreting the code.

Moreover, the planned new public submission period would provide a greater level of transparency, CME (WA) chief executive Tim Shanahan said.

For the South West minerals industry, at the end point of the DBNGP, the ultimate outcome would be a competitive gas price and reliability of supply, with capacity to expand, hence bringing new business on stream.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA said the decision raised some concerns about the degree of discretion the regulator had under the code.

“There may be a need for a closer look at the detail of the regulator’s brief to ensure it is clear, objective and unambiguous,” CCIWA chief executive Lyndon Rowe said.

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