ATCO Gas Australia Pty Ltd (ATCO) operates the Mid-West and South-West Gas Distribution Systems (MWSW GDS). The MWSW GDS consists of natural gas distribution networks that service Geraldton, Bunbury, Busselton, Harvey, Pinjarra, Brunswick Junction, Capel and the Perth greater metropolitan area (including Mandurah).
The MWSW GDS is a regulated distribution network and requires an approved access arrangement. The current access arrangement for the GDS is valid until the next access arrangement is approved.
The process for gas access arrangement reviews has changed since the ERA’s last review of ATCO’s access arrangement for the GDS in 2019. There are now two key stages involved in the ERA’s decision making process for an access arrangement: (a) Reference Service Proposal and (b) Access Arrangement Proposal. Under the National Gas Rules, ATCO must submit a reference service proposal to the ERA 12 months before the access arrangement proposal.
On 1 September 2022, ATCO submitted a reference service proposal for the MWSW GDS. The ERA published ATCO’s proposal for consultation on 15 September 2022 and received two submissions. On 14 November 2022, the ERA decided to approve the reference services set out in ATCO’s reference service proposal.
On 1 September 2023, ATCO submitted its access arrangement proposal for the sixth access arrangement period (AA6): 1 January 2025 to 31 December 2029. Interested parties are invited to make public submissions on ATCO’s proposal, and to assist the ERA has published an issues paper. Submissions should be lodged online via the ERA website. Submissions close 27 November 2023.
The ERA expects to publish its draft decision by May 2024. ATCO will then have a revision period of at least 30 business days to submit a revised proposal in response to the draft decision. Interested parties will have an opportunity to comment on both the ERA’s draft decision and ATCO’s revised proposal before the ERA makes its final decision.
Further information about the access arrangement framework and decision making process can be found in the ERA’s gas access arrangement guideline.