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News Service 117 – Learning to teach a trade in TAFE, Post-trade training forum, Women’s Pathfinder Project a success, Clean-energy study closing, Tax dollars and training resources for EVs, Improving VET completions, Access to Australian standards, NCVER data, Rise of prosumers, NECA & SafeWork NSW joint workshops, ARCTick licencing, Electrical incidents knowledge sharing, and Safety and energy news

uensw  > Industry News, News headlines >  News Service 117 – Learning to teach a trade in TAFE, Post-trade training forum, Women’s Pathfinder Project a success, Clean-energy study closing, Tax dollars and training resources for EVs, Improving VET completions, Access to Australian standards, NCVER data, Rise of prosumers, NECA & SafeWork NSW joint workshops, ARCTick licencing, Electrical incidents knowledge sharing, and Safety and energy news

Download a PDF version of the News Service 117


The NSW UE ITAB has received a number of enquiries from industry stakeholders regarding issues with accessing training in NSW in the post-trade Electrotechnology area – specifically CIV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma. 

The NSW UE ITAB in consultation with TAFE NSW is keen to ascertain the level of demand in the market and more specifically the issues industry stakeholders and more importantly prospective learners or candidates have with accessing relevant post-trade competency development programs in related Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications, covering:

  • electrical engineering,
  • renewable energy,
  • process industrial automation and control,
  • electrical equipment in hazardous areas,
  • air conditioning and refrigeration engineering, and
  • more.

To this end the NSW UE ITAB is working with TAFE NSW to hold the forum in Newcastle, at the Tighes Hill Campus.

Date: TUESDAY, 30 MAY 2023

Time: 9.30am to 2.00pm

Venue:  TAFE NSW, Tighes Hill Campus
Room – TBA

266 Maitland Road Tighes Hill NSW 2297

The aim of the Forum is to discuss these issues and possible solutions.  Including, gaining an understanding of the serious problem that was created to post-trade training when they removed the nested CIII Electrician’s qualification within the standalone Certificate IV Electrician’s qualification. 

Unfortunately, there is not going to be a change to the existing arrangement for another couple of years given changes to the National VET system now under way, that will see a new Job Skills Council (JSC) being created and established.  It will need to tool up and employ resources to undertake a range of develop activities including the appropriate modifications alluded to above. 

In consultation with the stakeholders, we will jointly need to look for interim solutions with Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), especially TAFE NSW, to help provide apprentices and those looking for post-trade programs access to this suite of qualifications or equivalent. 

If you are interested in attending?

Contact email Tony Palladino to register your interest to attend at


Job and Skills Australia (JSA) has further reminded interested stakeholders that it is not too late to make a submission to the clean energy study.  In its reminder email of 19 April 2023, JSA states, “It’s not too late to have your say on … clean energy capacity.

JSA is seeking your views about the workforce and skills needed to transition Australia to a clean energy economy by providing feedback on our Clean Energy Capacity Study discussion paper.

The capacity study will build on existing research and deepen understanding of the clean energy sector.

Find out more and have your say at Clean Energy Capacity Study Discussion paper | Jobs and Skills Australia.”

Discussion excerpts:

“The Australian Government has commissioned Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) to undertake a capacity study on the workforce needs for Australia’s transition to a clean energy economy. The study will provide critical evidence and insights to support the workforce planning, policy development and program design needed to build a strong and vibrant clean energy sector.

The study will be supported by extensive consultation and genuine partnerships, led by a steering group of industry and technical experts and stakeholders.”

The study, “mandate is to:

  • help clarify what jobs and industries make up our clean energy workforce
  • understand how different transition scenarios will affect our future workforce needs and impact employment in high-emitting sectors
  • explore how the workforce opportunities created by clean energy can be shared across regions and with First Nations Australians, women, people with disability and Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • identify the education, training and migration pathways that we should be developing, and the underlying system settings needed to enable those pathways.

The study will not look at the merits of particular technologies, projects or investments, or the non-workforce impacts of the clean energy transition.”

JSA welcomes and encourages feedback on these discussion papers from interested parties.

Clean Energy Capacity Study – submissions close 5pm AEST Tuesday 2 May 2023.


Master Electricians Australia (MEA) reports in its Monday, 24 April 2023 Industry News, that government will be spending $70 million to help foster innovation in electric vehicle charging solutions across Australia.

The article states, “$70 million in funding has been announced to help foster innovation in electric vehicle charging solutions across Australia.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $70 million in Federal Government funding to be made available under the Driving the Nation Program.

Under the funding pool ARENA will look to support uptake of electric vehicles through the following focus areas:

  • Innovation in public charging
  • Innovation in management of charging

How it works

The Driving the Nation Program is ongoing and accepting of applications that contribute to the Program objectives and align with the Program Focus Areas. 

The assessment process involves two stages:

  1. Expressions of Interest; and
    1. Full Application stage.
    1. Driving the Nation Program Guidelines (PDF 608KB)
  2. 2022 Focus Areas – Business Fleets [Open]
  3. 2023 Focus Areas – Innovation in Charging [Open]


We will host a virtual information session on Monday, 8 May 2023 at 4 PM AEST to provide an overview of the 2023 Focus Areas and the Driving the Nation Program, with an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

Further details will be provided closer to the event for registered attendees.



At the same time the Federal Government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) has announced a new National Electric Vehicle Strategy aiming to increase the uptake of electric vehicles across Australia.

The strategy is looking to:

  • increase the supply of affordable and accessible EVs
  • establish the resources, systems and infrastructure to enable rapid EV uptake
  • encourage increased EV demand.

Download – The National Electric Vehicle Strategy (HERE)


The Department of Employment and Workforce Relations (DEWR) has released a tender for the development of training resources for Electric Vehicles (EVs).

The tender states, “The Australian Government is committed to prioritising the transition to a net zero economy under the New Energy Skills Program (the program). Investment in this program will support the development of fit-for-purpose training pathways for new energy industry jobs. The program includes funding for the New Energy Training Pathways Initiative which will support training providers to fast-track the delivery of clean energy qualifications and skill sets through the development of training resources.

The department is seeking a supplier to develop a suite of training resources for use by registered training providers delivering nationally recognised qualifications and skill sets in electric vehicles and renewables, as part of the New Energy Training Pathways Initiative.

The resources will assist in fast-tracking the delivery of existing new energy training qualifications and skill sets within the national Vocational Education and Training (VET) system from 2024.  The provider is required to work with the relevant Jobs and Skills Councils and other stakeholders …

Resources are required for each of the below specified nationally recognised qualifications and skill sets relating to renewable energy and electric vehicles within the VET system:

  1. AUR32721 – Certificate III in Automotive Electric Vehicle Technology;
  2. AURSS00063 – Battery Electric Vehicle Diagnose and Repair Skill Set;
  3. AURSS00064 – Battery Electric Vehicle Inspection and Servicing Skill Set; and
  4. UEE43322 – Certificate IV in Electrical – Renewable Energy.

ATM ID: ESE22-4937

Category: 86000000 – Education and Training Services

Close Date & Time: 9-May-2023 5:00 pm (ACT Local Time)

Publish Date: 14-Apr-2023”



The 18 April 2023 edition of Electrical Connection includes an interesting article on the rise of prosumers in connection with residential electrical energy.

The article states, “A new era of residential energy consumption is emerging in Australia in response to rising energy prices and environmental concerns. Driven by ‘prosumers’, so named as they both produce and consume resources, including energy, this emerging market has the potential to reshape homes of the future and it has already started, but prosumers need help. Clipsal by Schneider Electric vice president Chris Kerr writes.

According to the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, households accounted for 43% of all Australian greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. By producing their own green energy and electrifying their homes, prosumers will change this, as the first to live in net zero – or less – homes.

To do this, prosumers are choosing solar and smart technology to reduce their bills, and electric vehicles (EVs) and electrical appliances to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Often, this journey to net zero starts with the shock of energy bills, which according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) latest report, rose by 61% between 2008-2020 for the average Australian household.

This bill shock is spurring more Australians to find savings, but the path is complex and confusing. Information overload, a lack of trust in energy suppliers, data safety concerns, changing policies and the speed of perceived tech obsolescence are all holding potential prosumers back.

To secure the future of green Australian homes, the energy industry and government must work together to educate citizens and support them to create their own energy ecosystems.

Fortunately, there is a clear entry point for the ‘prosumer home of the future’, in its energy management system, which will act as a central hub linked to solar panels and batteries, including one or more EVs. These technologies are already here and growing in popularity. By the end of 2020, solar panels were fitted to 32.3% of detached homes.”




TAFE NSW is seeking interested applicants without a teaching qualification to be paid to learn on the job full time.

This is a fast track fully paid program designed to give you your teaching qualification in just the first 14 weeks of your employment. Once fully qualified, we will continue to support your professional development to set you up for success in what is a very rewarding career.

As a professional educator, a TAFE Teacher’s role is to help, construct, guide and enhance the learning process. Successful applicants will deliver educational programs and facilitate learning, to enable students to qualify as the next generation of trade graduates. TAFE NSW teacher’s deliver educational programs and facilitate learning, enabling students to achieve their desired outcomes.

The Paid to Learn project offers a unique opportunity for industry experts to gain a teaching qualification while receiving a competitive salary and ongoing support. TAFE NSW is now inviting applications for the following positions.

Applications will close on Sunday 30th April, so we encourage interested candidates to apply as soon as possible.

Please feel free to share these opportunities with your professional network.

Teacher of Air conditioning and Refrigeration – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Refrigeration – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Allied Timber Trades (Upholstery) – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Allied Timber Trades (Furniture Finishing) – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Civil Construction – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of High-Risk Work – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Electrical Trades – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Plumbing – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Carpentry – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Electrical Trades – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Surveying – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Electrical Trades – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Civil Construction – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Architectural Drafting – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Cabinetmaking – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Carpentry – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Carpentry – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Plumbing – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Plumbing – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Fire Protection – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of General Plumbing – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

Teacher of Plumbing – Paid to Learn | I work for NSW

To learn more about the program, download the TAFE Information Sheet – Click Here


The 24 April 2023 edition of the TDA Newsletter, produced by TAFE Directors Australia reports on the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Conner announcement last week that one of the key elements in a new National Skills Agreement was for VET ministers to explore options of ways to boost the VET completion rates. 

The article states, “Ways of boosting VET completion rates will be one of the key elements in a new National Skills Agreement, the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Conner said last week.

Speaking in South Australia, Mr O’Connor said, together with state and territory ministers, he was looking at “a myriad of ways we can improve the completion rates.”

“It’s going to be subject to discussions with all state and territory governments and industry when we are negotiating the National Skills Agreement.

“I’m inviting people to put forward their views as to how do we improve the approach because to date the just over 50 per cent completion rate, which has been around now for close to a decade, is not acceptable,” he said.”


Also, refer to the Minister’s transcript of the Press conference in Adelaide on the 21 April 2024 for more details:


Editor Stephen Matchett reports in the Thursday, 20 April 2023 edition of Campus Morning Mail that Vocational Education and Training (VET) data generated by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is pivotal to informing policy development in Australia.

The article states, “Jobs and Skills Australia is the new power in training but the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research keeps producing the data the system depends on.

Amongst all the easy announcements of change to perhaps the most complex policy province in the Commonwealth, the NCVER is oft overlooked. But it does the work that gives interest-groups the evidence to argue about.

Work such as Michelle Hall, Melinda Lees, Cameron Serich (NCVER) and Richard Hunt’s (Deloitte Australia) new paper, “Evaluating machine learning for projecting completion rates for VET programmes.” They conclude it might work, but the disruptions of the pandemic mean they can’t be sure.  …”


With respect to the “Evaluating machine learning …” paper, it can be downloaded from the following link:  Evaluating machine learning for projecting completion rates for VET programs

With respect to the “Evaluating machine learning …” paper, it can be downloaded from the following link:  Evaluating machine learning for projecting completion rates for VET programs

The technical paper summarises exploratory analysis undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of using machine learning approaches to calculate projected completion rates for VET programs and compares with the current Markov chains methodology used by NCVER.


Agrifood partnered up with the NSW Utilities and Electrotechnology ITAB to promote careers to women in non-traditional roles, under a National Careers Institute project concluded successfully with a final filming event on the 17 April 2023, where ten female champions took part in a facilitator led serious of discussions and interviews.

The female champions from across the Manufacturing, Agrifood and Electrotechnology (MAE) industries came together to share their experiences in taking up a career in a non-traditional role.  They discussed topics such as what was catalyst or situation that motivated you to take on a career in a non-traditional role? How did you families, friends, and other cohorts react to your decision to take up a career in a non-traditional role? How do you feel about what you have achieved?  Did taking up a career in a non-traditional role help your career progression? – How? When are you in your career journey now?

Other topics included:

  • How important are or have been supportive workplaces and organisations to your success?
  • How important is the leadership and culture of a workplace or organisation to increasing the completion/success rates of women in non-traditional roles-occupations-careers?

Each female champion subsequently, participated in a personal individual profile interview, to discuss their unique story of joining the ranks of women in non-traditional roles.  It was a highly successful event and promotional videos and podcast featuring these industry champions will be released in the very near future.

Companies represented were Essential Energy, AGL, TAFE NSW, Transgrid, Kone Cranes, Family Fresh Farms, Langham Hotel, Goldfields Honey.

With respect to the 2023 Showcase Days, three were conducted in March 1, 2023.  These were in Adamstown, Albury and Parkes.  All proved successful, except the number of school students varied and proved problematic.  Nonetheless, other attendees such as careers advisers and department of education / Training Services NSW, found the showcases invaluable.  This information was gleaned from surveys that were conducted of each attendee at each showcase.

The project also developed a series of occupational profile resources that were used across the Showcase Days, now available on the Agrifood website.  Developed were:

  • 22 job guides covering occupations in MAE
  • 22 career resources
  • 12 career clow charts

All can be viewed at: MAE CAREER RESOURCE CENTRE


The showcase days were a unique opportunity for interested women aged 16-64, careers advisors and influencers to attend and experience the industry firsthand.  In each Showcase Day attendees had the opportunity to:

  • meet and talk with female industry leaders
  • gain hands-on experience
  • access the latest career information
  • ask questions and have them answered by industry experts
  • register and reserve a place for obligation free opportunities to do work experience with local MAE industries
  • free networking opportunity


Albury (TAFE NSW) and Parkes (Essential Energy)

Adamstown (Newcastle) – Process Automation Control (PAC)

A big thank you goes to all the companies that participated in each of the Showcase Days, giving of their time and more importantly resources to help the project become successful.

For more information: AGRIFOOD WEBSITE


Master Electricians Australia (MEA) issued an announcement via its LinkedIn news service on 19 April 2023, promoting its success of the Save Our Standards campaign. 

The campaign was about ensuring the electrical industry, and the wider construction sector, had fair and equitable access to the Standards contractors and workers need to ensure work is safe.

The article stated, “Ministers from across Australia received hundreds of emails from electrical contractors, tradies, workers, and industry members calling for change.

Standards Australia have listened MEA and those voices and announced they are making Standards more affordable and accessible. 

MEA applauds Standards Australia’s longer-term vision to deliver affordable models that will ensure tradies can access the Standards they need, where they need them. Multiple options to access Standards will be made available in the coming months. 

An occupational licence system will allow workers to access to a core range of Standards for a low yearly fee as part of an electrical licence. 

A new mobile app will provide access to specific standards, for a fee expected to be less than $100 per year. This will only provide access on a mobile device. 

Standards will still be able to be purchased individually, or in bundles, like they are now. These will be accessible on a range of devices. 

Standards Australia are working through the finer details and a timeline for delivery.”



SafeWork NSW reports in its April 2023 edition of SafeWork Wrap that joint SafeWork NSW and NECA workshops will be held across NSW regions to spark electrical safety discussions.

The article states, “SafeWork NSW is taking to the road to talk all things electrical.

If you work in the electrical industry, you won’t want to miss our inspectors presenting valuable insights on managing electrical risks and preventing accidents. They are also sharing real-life examples and practical solutions to improve safety.

These free workshops, hosted by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) are happening across regional NSW through April, May and June 2023.  The focus and target areas for the workshops include:

  • SafeWork NSW Safety Inspections
  • NSW Fair Trading CCEW Compliance
  • Regulation Updates on Australian Standards & Rules
  • Reported non-compliant and unsafe electrical work in NSW
  • Apprentice Supervision Regulations

You will also meet and network with industry professionals, NECA Business Partners, leading product suppliers and local wholesaler reps. Refreshments will be provided.

Attendance by registration only as seats are limited.”



Editor, Sandra Rossi reports in the 19 April 2023 edition of Climate Control News (CCN) that ARCtick licensing applications just got quicker, simpler and more convenient now that the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) has activated a completely online application process.

The article states, “ARC chief executive officer Glenn Evans said the system had been built around improving convenience for applicants, enabling them to upload qualifications and photographs and then finalise payment by credit card online.

“The system puts control of an application or renewal in the hands of the applicant, and it has been designed for maximum convenience,” he said.

“For example, applicants can save their applications at any stage during the process and come back later if they need to round up information or files to complete it.

“This might include scanning their qualifications or photos for a Refrigerant Handling Licence (RHL) application, or confirming staff or equipment details for a Refrigerant Trading Authorisation (RTA) renewal.

“Whatever the type of application, no longer is it necessary to get certified copies of documents or photos, so there’s no more running around for that sort of thing.

“And once all the information has been suitably submitted, they can expect us to process the application within a few days.”



The NSW UE ITAB is fortunate again this month to be provided with the latest electrical incident reports from BluScope Steel. 

As stated in previous News Services, the NSW UE ITAB has received permission from BlueScope Steel to share the information.

The aim is to help RTOs and industry practitioners have available, real case studies of electrical incidents that have occurred in workplaces and which they can showcase and use in their programs or safety moments to highlight findings and experience, and discuss possible issues, responses or solutions.

The NSW UE ITAB again, sincerely thanks BlueScope Steel for their permission, and advises RTOs and industry practitioners to ensure they recognise and acknowledge attribution to BlueScope for sharing this information and treat the information for educational purposes only.

As we receive the incident reports, we will continue to share them accordingly.

For this News Service we have two Blue Scope Steel reports covering the months of February 2023 and March 2023:

For more information and BlueScope contact details please refer to the undersigned for more information.  Again, a sincere thanks to BlueScope.


The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) has released a joint industry statement with list of stakeholders to call for state, territory and federal governments to act decisively to improve the energy efficiency performance of homes across Australia.

The joint statement released on 19 April 2023 states, “The financial institutions and peak bodies listed above have come together to urge state, territory and federal governments to act decisively to improve the performance of homes across Australia.

Rehabilitating our housing stock is critical to achieving a net-zero economy in line with Australia’s national targets. It will also make our homes more healthy, comfortable and energy smart and help lower energy bills for Australian households.

At present, millions of Australians are living in dwellings that can’t be adequately heated or cooled at an affordable cost. More than 1.3 million detached houses in Victoria alone are estimated to have a NatHERS rating of two stars or less, increasing the risk of preventable physical and mental health problems.

For Australian banks and non-bank lenders, helping mortgage-holders to improve the comfort and performance of their homes can strengthen relationships with customers and help deliver our net zero commitments. For insurers, improving the resilience of Australian homes to extreme weather can help ensure homeowners have access to affordable home insurance.

In 2019, Australian governments agreed to a blueprint for action: the Trajectory to low energy buildings. We urge Australian Governments to accelerate implementation of this blueprint. Specifically, we call on governments to deliver by mid-2024:

  • A national home energy rating framework for existing homes.
  • A national system for disclosing the energy performance of homes.
  • Measures to improve the energy performance of rental dwellings.

… The reforms will help underpin efforts by the finance sector to support home-owners and landlords to upgrade homes, tackling a key source of emissions in the Australian economy, accelerating the clean energy transformation, as well as putting downward pressure on energy bills.



EnergyCo has released a Position Paper for consultation on the South West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) Access Scheme. 

EnergyCo states in its notice of 17 April 2023, that is “pleased to announce that the NSW Government has reached an important milestone in publishing a Draft Renewable Energy Zone (South West) Access Scheme Order 2023 with its accompanying South West REZ Access Scheme Position Paper.

The draft access scheme for the South West REZ has been informed by the extensive engagement and policy design work carried out with the Central-West Orana REZ Access Scheme, the first of its kind in the National Electricity Market. The Draft South West REZ Access Scheme builds on this work, with a number of key changes reflecting the unique characteristics of the South West REZ. These are discussed in detail in the South West REZ Access Scheme Position Paper.  …

Have your say

The declaration was published for public consultation in early March 2023 and sets out how generation and storage projects can be granted access rights to new network infrastructure within the South West REZ and is the primary statutory instrument for the South West REZ Access Scheme. It is available to view here.

EnergyCo together with the Office of Energy and Climate Change, will host an online briefing about the Draft South West REZ Access Scheme and Policy Design on Friday 28 April 2023 from 2-4pm.

Information about the briefing and how to register is available here.


The Clean Energy Regulator has released the March 2023 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target market data.

Highlights include:

  • 267 MW of capacity was approved for LGC generation in March, bringing the total approved in 2023 to 274 MW.
  • Approvals in March included Avonlie Solar Project in NSW with a capacity of MW.

The target is designed to reduce emissions in the electricity sector and encourage additional generation from sustainable and renewable sources.

Investment in the renewables industry is dependent on the long-term economics of specific projects and is influenced by a range of market factors. Investors make informed decisions by analysing the available market data.



The latest News from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), 20 April 2023 shows that energy prices in the 1st quarter of 2023 have stabilised. 

The Report states, “Wholesale energy prices stabilised and solar power generation set another record during the January to March period, according to the latest Wholesale Markets Quarterly Report. The report shows that average National Electricity Market prices over the first quarter were lower than the preceding quarter, attributed to greater supply of low-priced capacity offered into the market, particularly by black coal but also by gas and solar generators.

Comparisons to prices at the same time last year vary by region. Quarter 1 2023 prices were lower in Queensland, similar in Victoria but higher in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. Heatwave conditions at different times during the quarter resulted in average prices being higher than they otherwise would have been.

Across the NEM, large-scale solar output achieved an all-time quarterly record and was up 22 percent on a year earlier, accounting for 9 percent of the total generation mix in the quarter. Rooftop solar output also hit a new record. The increase in both large-scale and rooftop solar output contributed to downward pressure on daytime prices.

The report also shows that, after a slight increase in February, east coast gas spot market prices continued a downward trend and averaged below $12/GJ. Contributing to this was additional gas available through spot markets due to outages on Queensland Curtis LNG export train and reduced international price pressures.

Alongside lower gas prices, the Iona gas storage facility in Victoria was able to replenish its inventory to its highest-ever end of first quarter level.

AER Chair Clare Savage said the regulator is currently finalising the Default Market Offer (DMO) for the coming year.”



EnergyInsider, a joint publication of the Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC) in its 20 April 2023 edition explores the tricky business of price regulation in the complex system of electricity.

The articles states, “Price regulation is a tricky function in any sector at any time but setting regulated annual prices in the complex system of electricity…this year – is a particular challenge. 

Regulatory price setting involves a paradoxical circular process where the regulator observes what retailers’ costs are but in doing so signals to retailers what their costs ought to be. As a result regulated prices form a significant input to retailers’ revenue forecasts and impact their product design, pricing and wholesale portfolio risk management strategies – all of which are often set-up more than a year in advance. Therefore, it’s vitally important for market stability that regulators apply principle-based methodologies consistently across periods.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and Victoria’s Essential Services Commission (ESC) both published draft default offers for the coming financial year (for their respective jurisdictions) on 15 March 2023.  Being the first determination since last years’ wholesale market perfect storm, and in the face of a cost-of-living crisis, the usually bland topic of electricity price setting has gained increased media attention. In light of that focus it is useful to understand the different approaches employed and a detailed comparison is warranted.

At a headline level, the AER’s draft DMO produced a circa 20 per cent increase (across both residential and small business tariffs) while the ESC’s overall draft Victorian Default Offer (VDO) resulted in a circa 30 per cent uplift. Figure 1 below presents year-on-year default offer price stakes for indicative tariff types and networks for each regulator.


In both cases the wholesale energy cost (WEC) is the key contributor to the price rise. In absolute terms the increases are arguably closer but direct cross-jurisdictional comparisons are challenging due to diversity in annualised usage, weather, customers’ concurrent use of gas, and tariff types (such as control load tariffs). 

What can be compared however is the regulators’ methodologies and consistency in approach (versus their propensity to influence the outcome). Here we unpack how each regulator has approached the biggest element – the flow-on of wholesale market impacts into customer pricing.

It is a testing time for regulators as they navigate the criss-crossed tracks of competing near-term priorities of varied stakeholder groups while keeping their eyes fixed on the longer-term view where all roads converge on the delivery of reliable, sustainable and affordable outcomes. Let’s hope they can muster the courage to stay the course.”