Australian Gas Association implements structural changes

After several years of review the Australian Gas Association (AGA) has recognised that it is becoming difficult to advocate a 'whole of gas chain' view on policy and regulatory issues after a series of significant structural changes in the energy market.

The result has been a number of structural and representational changes for the industry association.

As with the AGA, the Electricity Supply Association of Australia (ESAA) has also been examining its own representational focus in light of energy market developments.

In recent months, discussions have taken place between key members of the AGA and ESAA about merging at least some of these associations' sector memberships across fuel types (particularly gas and electricity distributors and, separately, gas and electricity retailers).

These discussions have now led to some concrete developments with converged electricity and gas retailers establishing an Energy Retailers Association of Australia (ERAA), which replaces the former National Retailers Forum, the Retail Directorate of the ESAA, and the AGA's Retail Committee.

Meanwhile, there has been an in principle decision made by converged gas and electricity distributor members of the AGA and ESAA to form an Energy Networks Association of Australia (ENAA). The ENAA will represent the interests of both the gas and electricity distribution sectors and is likely to be the successor organisation to the AGA and the ESAA's Distribution Directorate.

The relevant parties are now developing a business plan, budget, structure and constitution for such a body.

However, the development does not technically result in a 'merger' of the AGA and ESAA, since the electricity generators, electricity transmission businesses and possibly some gas transmission businesses will elect not to be part of the new association.

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