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What We Do

The ERA is an independent statutory authority established by the Parliament of Western Australia. Our purpose is to benefit the WA community by promoting an efficient and customer focused economy. We have a range of regulatory functions that are intended to achieve this purpose.

We can also be called on by the Government to conduct independent inquiries on important economic issues. These inquiries can be on any economic issue and need not relate to the regulation of utilities. The inquiries result in recommendations to the Government and a report that must be tabled in Parliament.

The ERA is made up of a Governing Body and a Secretariat. The Secretariat undertakes research and provides
advice to the Governing Body to inform its decision making.

Independence and transparency

We work independently of industry, government and other interests to ensure that our decisions and recommendations are free from bias. We have a transparent and ordered approach to our decision making process and are committed to consultation with our stakeholders throughout each stage of the process. We are able to work solely in the best interests of Western Australians by maintaining this fair and impartial stance.

Why regulation?

In a competitive market, customers who are not satisfied with a service provider’s price or level of service have the choice to switch to another service provider (for example, as in the mobile telephone sector). Choice is generally not an option in the utility markets we regulate. Instead, the ERA implements the laws that are intended to ensure that service providers are efficient and maintain certain levels of service.

Strategic Goals

  • Independent regulation and advice is understood and valued
  • We are recognised as a quality provider of economic analysis and advice on a broad range of issues
  • We effectively engage with our stakeholders
  • Regulatory compliance is at a high standard and
  • We are a great place to work

What we do

  • Issue licences to providers of gas, electricity and water services (e.g. Alinta, Synergy, the Water Corporation), monitor compliance with the conditions of these licences and associated legislation. In addition the ERA monitors and publicly reports on industry performance, taking enforcement action when required. Licences permit companies to generate, transmit, distribute and retail electricity or gas, as well as provide water services
  • Approve the contracts and service standards that protect residential and small business electricity, gas and water customers and assess the performance of utilities in relation to the treatment of customers experiencing financial hardship
  • Approve the terms and conditions (including the prices) that owners of electricity networks and gas pipelines are obliged to offer companies wanting to use the infrastructure to transport electricity or gas
  • Approve the terms and conditions, and costing information that owners of railways are obliged to offer companies wanting to use trains on particular railways
  • Monitor the Western Australian Wholesale Electricity Market (where electricity generators and retailers can buy and sell electricity) to ensure that companies are not manipulating prices. We provide a report on the state of the market to the Minister for Energy annually
  • Conduct inquiries and provide reports to the State Government on economic issues and
  • Approve and monitor arrangements that enable customers to choose their gas retailer

Who sets the price of electricity, gas & water?

The State Government of Western Australia sets the retail price of electricity, gas and water that households and businesses pay. The ERA can be requested by Government to provide independent advice on what the retail prices should be.

Energy

The retail price of electricity and gas is made up of four costs. These are generation, transmission, distribution and retail costs.

The ERA:

  • monitors the wholesale electricity market in which generators and retailers of electricity trade electricity
  • determines the amount of revenue the owners of electricity and gas transmission and distribution networks may earn from their customers and
  • can be called on to undertake economic inquiries and make recommendations to the Government on retail electricity and gas tariffs

The Government:

  • sets the retail electricity and gas tariffs for households and small businesses

Water

The ERA:

  • can be called on to undertake economic inquiries and make recommendations to the Government on retail water tariffs

The Government:

  • sets retail water tariffs

Who we regulate

The ERA regulates over 90 gas, electricity and water utility service providers in Western Australia. The major companies we regulate include:

 Electricity  Gas  Rail  Water
  • Horizon Power
  • Synergy
  • Western Power
  • Alinta
  • ATCO Gas Australia (formerly WA Gas Networks)
  • Dampier Bunbury Pipeline
  • Goldfields Gas Transmission
  • Brookfield Rail
  • Public Transport Authority
  • The Pilbara Infrastructure
  • Aqwest – Bunbury Water Board
  • Busselton Water Board
  • Ord Irrigation Cooperative
  • Water Corporation
  • Harvey Water (South West Irrigation Management Co-operative)