Commission and Electricity Authority launch project to shine spotlight on emerging contestable services
Published02 Apr 2019
The Commerce Commission and Electricity Authority have initiated a joint project to assess how new technologies and business models emerging in the electricity sector may benefit consumers in the future.
Deputy Chair Sue Begg said the Commission and the Authority have a shared focus on ensuring electricity markets are working well and the regulatory environment supports the best possible outcomes for consumers in the long term.
“New technologies such as network batteries, solar panels and electric vehicle chargers present new opportunities for the sector. We want to better understand lines companies’ incentives to invest in these new technologies and the impact these investments will have on consumers in the long term,” Ms Begg said.
“Our aim is to ensure our collective regulatory tools are appropriate and flexible enough to incentivise innovation and promote competition in emerging services.”
The terms of reference for the project are available on the Commission’s website here. Interested parties are invited to provide feedback on our proposed focus and approach by 12 April 2019.
As part of the Input Methodologies review, we indicated we would need to increase our knowledge and understanding of emerging-technology related developments. Subsequent to that, a project was launched to gather information on the impact of emerging technologies in monopoly parts of the electricity sector.
This project is a further step in our focus on how emerging technologies are developing in the electricity sector. Emerging technologies will enable new business models and give consumers greater options and choice over how they use energy (and how much). These technologies, business models, and consumer behaviours are interrelated with policy and regulations that affect market structure (eg, separation between electricity generation/retailing, distribution/transmission and other energy-related services), conduct (eg, pricing and investing), and performance (eg, profitability).
The ‘trio’ of emerging technologies, new business models and changing consumer behaviour has the potential to benefit consumers in different ways but also presents challenges to how we regulate lines services under the Electricity Industry Act 2010 and the Commerce Act 1986. This work will help support how we both exercise our regulatory powers in this changing environment.