Changes to the Network and Retail Exemption Guidelines: How will your electricity on-supply arrangements be impacted?

Damian Roe, Anthony Pitt, and Emily Collins / 14 June 2021

If you are an electricity on-supplier in Queensland, then the Electricity Network Service Provider – Registration Exemption Guideline (Network Exemption Guideline) and the AER (Retail) Exempt Selling Guideline (Retail Exemption Guideline) regulate the sale of electricity to your customers unless you are an authorised retailer.

On Tuesday, 18 May 2021 the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released a consultation paper Updating the Network and Retail Exemption Guidelines (Consultation Paper). The Network Exemption Guideline and Retail Exemption Guideline have not been updated since 2018.  

The Consultation Paper sets out the AER’s proposed changes to the Retail Exemption Guideline and the Network Exemption Guideline as follows:

  • Amending the requirement for each person who “owns, controls and operates” a network to register for an exemption. Instead, the AER proposes that one person be registered, with any other party subject to a deemed exemption. 
  • Amending the appointment requirements for an embedded network manager including deferring the appointment of an embedded network manager in regional Queensland.
  • Inserting disconnection obligations in the Network Exemption Guideline to ensure that embedded network customers who have moved on-market have protections against disconnection. 
  • Standardising information to provide to prospective customers. 
  • Developing a factsheet that describes the process a customer must follow to enter into a market retail contract.
  • Inserting hardship obligations. The AER has asked for stakeholder feedback on what form these obligations should take. The AER is mindful that there is a balance between improving hardship supports for embedded network customers and also the practicalities of exempt sellers, especially small ones, in providing such support.  

It is critical to monitor any changes to the Network Retail Guideline and the Retail Exemption Guideline to ensure that appropriate amendments are made to your practices and, where relevant, agreements with your customers.  There are significant penalties that can apply to an on-supplier for not complying with the Retail Network Guidelines. 

Submissions on the Consultation Paper must be provided to the AER by 30 June 2021.  

We expect to see the draft Network Exemption Guideline and Retail Exemption Guideline in August 2021.

Damian Roe
Damian is a Partner of our leading Resources, Energy and Projects practice.
Anthony Pitt
Special Counsel
Anthony is a Special Counsel in our Dispute Resolution practice who specialises in property-related litigation.
Emily Collins
Senior Associate
Emily is a Senior Associate in our leading Resources and Energy practice.

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