Australian Gas Networks' regulatory performance
Australian Gas Networks is one of Australia‘s largest natural gas distribution companies. In South Australia, AGN supplies natural gas through distribution networks of over 8000 km to more than 448,000 customers. As the owner of a monopoly natural gas distribution network in South Australia, AGN is subject to economic regulation by the Commission and the Australian Energy Regulator.
The Commission regulates Australian Gas Networks’ gas distribution operations in South Australia through the provision, administration and enforcement of a licensing regime, which is supported by industry codes and guidelines. In addition, the Commission has responsibility for developing standards to ensure network security and reliability (jurisdictional service reliability standards) that apply to Australian Gas Networks.
The Commission does not regulate revenue requirements for Australian Gas Networks. Under the national gas regulatory framework, Australian Gas Networks is subject to economic regulation, by the Australian Energy Regulator, in respect of the revenue it is permitted to earn from South Australian consumers. The Australian Energy Regulator considers any jurisdictional service reliability standard set by the Commission when making regulatory (revenue) determinations for Australian Gas Networks.
The Commission has not set jurisdictional service reliability standards in the form of performance targets for Australian Gas Networks. This is on the basis that the safety requirements prescribed by the Technical Regulator continue to deliver appropriate levels of network security and reliability, and customers are satisfied with Australian Gas Network’s level of service. Instead, Australian Gas Networks is required to monitor and report quarterly on three performance indicators:
Responsiveness to the leaks and emergencies telephone number:
- total number of telephone calls received on the leaks and emergencies number
- total number (and percentage) of telephone calls to the leaks and emergencies number answered within 30 seconds, and
- average answer time (in seconds) for calls to the leaks and emergencies number.
Responsiveness to public reporting of gas leaks:
- total number of potential gas leaks reported by the public
- total number of high priority gas leaks reported by the public
- total number of other gas leaks reported by the public
- percentage of gas leak reports by the public attended within the timeframes in AGN's Leakage
- Management Plan, and
- total number of publicly reported potential gas leaks where no leak was found.
Trends in unplanned interruptions:
- Customers experiencing multiple interruptions – the number of customers that have two or
- more interruptions within a year where the interruption is unplanned and caused by operator
- actions, third party damage or asset condition.
- Customers experiencing long duration interruptions – the number of events within a year
- where a gas supply is not restored within 12 hours and where the interruption is unplanned and
- caused by operator actions, third party damage or asset condition.
Under the Gas Distribution Code and Gas Metering Code, Australian Gas Networks must comply with obligations relating to quality, safety and reliability of gas distribution (including maintaining gas pressure in the system and the capability of the distribution system).
The Commission monitors and reports on Australian Gas Networks’ compliance with regulatory requirements and takes enforcement action in instances of non-compliance, if necessary.
The Commission publishes annually statistics and summary insights on Australian Gas Networks’ operational performance outcomes including network service and reliability performance compared with historical performance, utilising data provided by Australian Gas Networks.
Gas leaks and network interruptions in 2020-21
Of the 6,804 gas leaks reported by the public in 2020-21, 99.9 percent were repaired within the timeframe specified in Australian Gas Networks’ Leakage Management Plan. For comparison, average historical restoration performance is 99.38 percent.
Over the past five years, the number of gas leaks reported by the public has exhibited a downward trend with the figure reported for 2020-21 (6,804) being the lowest to date. A similar trend is exhibited for the number publicly reported potential gas leaks attended where no leak was found.
Only a small proportion of Australian Gas Networks’ customers were reported to experience two or more interruptions, representing approximately 0.011 percent of the total customer base of 466,438 as at 30 June 2021.
Only a small proportion of those customers were reported to have experienced long duration interruptions (>12 hours), representing approximately 0.018 percent of the total customer base. However, it is noted that it has increased over the past three years, from 0.014 percent in 2018-19.
Telephone responsiveness in 2020-21
Of the 10,747 telephone calls to the leaks and emergencies telephone number in 2020-21, 96 percent were answered within 30 seconds. This is two percentage points higher than the average historical telephone responsiveness performance of 94 percent.
Historical performance outcomes
While the Commission assesses energy entities performance against annual service standards and reliability standards each year, events may occur during the year that warrant special ad hoc reporting – referred to as Significant Performance Events.
The Commission considers the following criteria in determining whether a Significant Performance Event has occurred:\
- a significant number of customers are affected for a lengthy duration, or there is reason to believe that a significant number of customers may have been affected for a lengthy duration.
- the event is likely to seriously impact on the licensed entity’s ability to meet one of more of its annual service standard(s) or reliability target(s).
- the Commission needs to undertake a review to be confident that the licensed entity has complied with its obligations under the relevant industry Code(s).
- there is strong stakeholder interest, or there is anticipated to be strong stakeholder interest.
The criteria recognise that a balance needs to be struck between reporting on every event and the resources it entails, and meeting stakeholder expectations on the provision of information in such situations.
To date, the Commission has not published any significant event reports in respect of the performance of Australian Gas Networks.
Time series data