The Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator (OTTER) has gone through several legislative changes to become what it is today. Amendments to Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) Act of 1995 paved way for the establishment of an independent economic, safety and technical regulator and the Economic Regulator office in 1998. Its main objectives are to protect the long term interests of the consumers by ensuring safe and reliable electricity; maintain a safe and efficient system of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and supply and; promote efficiency and competition in the electricity supply industry.
With the reforms in other sectors, OTTER responsibilities continued to grow.
• With amendments in Gas Act 2000 and accompanying regulations, OTTER acquired responsibilities in relation to gas distribution pipelines and gas retailing.
• With the commencement of the Water and Sewerage Industry Act 2008, it was made responsible for the economic regulation of the water and sewerage sector.
• OTTER got its name after the commencement of the Economic Regulator (ER) Act of 2009. With this, the Commission was vested with the responsibilities to ensure competitive neutrality by conducting investigations and reviews into the pricing policies and practices in the monopoly or near monopoly areas governed by the government enterprises, bodies or local bodies.
OTTERs vision is to ensure that it best meets the needs of the Tasmanian energy industry and the customers. In a bid to so it aims at introducing full retail competition for households and small businesses so as to provide choice of electricity retailer to all customers, put downward pressure on prices in the short, medium and long term, maximise Tasmania’s clean energy advantage, and improve the efficiency of the industry.
As an independent economic, technical and safety regulator, it discharges its duties impartially and ensures administrative fairness. It doesn’t discriminate among service providers, consumers or other stakeholders and investigates and reviews the complaints before coming to a decision. OTTER also falls under the authority of the Ombudsman, thereby ensures early resolution of any systemic issues identified in relation to industry compliance with the various regulatory instruments.
Protecting the interests of consumers and ensuring that the supply of utility services in Australia is efficient, reliable, safe and secure has always been the cornerstone of OTTER’s operational plan. There are certain core values that OTTER believes in to achieve these objectives which include the following.
• Respect for all stakeholders, staff, and consumers when executing regulatory functions
• Passion in order to achieve great things and influence economic development
• Excellence in service delivery
• Integrity in order to build confidence and trust in OTTER’s mandate
• Fellowship amongst employs so as to create a fun and supportive place to work
The Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator aims to contribute to a sustainable and thriving economy. In order to achieve this, OTTER staff works to support the regulator through integrated and focused strategies. The office also has the customer consultative committee, which allows consumers of essential services to provide feedback and suggestions on development projects or other matters of interest. OTTER also reviews annual reports from electricity, gas, water and sewerage service providers. This along with the OTTER’s annual operating plan helps the office to achieve its objectives.