The Tasmanian Economic Regulator (the Regulator) is an independent economic regulator established under the Economic Regulator Act 2009.
The Regulator is supported by staff of the Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator (OTTER).
What does the Regulator do?
The Regulator regulates a number of monopoly, near-monopoly and specified industries within Tasmania. The regulated businesses operate in the electricity, gas, water and sewerage, taxi and compulsory third party insurance industries in Tasmania. In regulating these businesses, the Regulator aims to protect the long term interests of consumers with respect to the price, quality and reliability of services.
The Regulator also responds to complaints about government businesses unfairly competing with the private sector in Tasmania.
The Regulator usually meets formally on a monthly basis and considers urgent matters out-of-session.
Who is the Regulator?
Mr Joe Dimasi was appointed as the Regulator on 9 November 2015.
Mr Dimasi established and led the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's regulatory functions over a period of 18 years first as Head of its Regulatory Division and later as Commissioner. Mr Dimasi established the Australian Utility Regulators Forum and was a founding council member of the East Asian and Pacific Infrastructure Regulators Forum. The Forum was established under the guidance of the World Bank to support smaller regulators in the East Asian and Pacific region. Mr Dimasi is also a Professorial Fellow at the Monash Business School.
Independence of the Regulator
The Regulator is to make decisions in a fair and reasonable manner and must not unfairly discriminate between service providers, customers or other persons. The Regulator is within the jurisdiction of the Tasmanian Ombudsman.
The Regulator is independent and is not subject to Ministerial Direction in carrying out its functions except under the Gas Industry Act 2019. The Gas Industry Act provides for the relevant Minister to direct the Regulator with respect to the performance and exercise of its functions and powers, except when the Regulator is considering an application for the grant of a licence.
The Treasurer may request the Regulator to report on specific matters as and when required by the Treasurer.
Legislation also requires the Regulator to ensure certain information is kept confidential.
Annual Operating Plan
OTTER's primary planning tool is the annual Operating Plan and is the means by which OTTER ensures that its activities are focussed on supporting the Regulator in achieving its objectives.