Proposed changes to electricity on-supply conditions
On 6 November 2017, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released a draft Retail Exempt Selling Guideline (Draft Guideline). The Draft Guideline proposes new conditions that, if adopted, will be imposed in a number of electricity on-supply scenarios.
The Draft Guideline proposes a new condition that requires on-suppliers selling electricity to residential customers to be members of, or subject to, an energy ombudsman scheme. This only applies if access to the ombudsman is contemplated in the relevant jurisdiction.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) is not currently available to the customers of on-suppliers in Queensland. The Department of Energy and Water Supply are considering expanding access to the EWOQ.
The first steps in that regard were proposed under the now lapsed Electricity and Other Legislation (Batteries and Premium Feed-in Tariff) Amendment Bill 2017. You can read more about the Bill in our previous article.
New conditions in the Draft Guideline require certain electricity on-suppliers to notify their customers of an interruption to the supply of electricity:
The Draft Guideline sets out what form the notice must take and its contents. The on-supplier must use its best endeavours to restore supply to the affected exempt customer as soon as possible.
The Draft Guideline now provides further detail on the type of complaints and dispute resolution mechanism that relevant on-suppliers must have in place.
It is important to ensure compliance with the conditions that apply to your on-selling activities. Non-compliance with your conditions is a breach of the National Energy Retail Rules and may result in the AER issuing an infringement notice of $20,000 to an on-supplier that is a company or body corporate. In limited circumstances the AER may also revoke the retail exemption.
Not all categories of on-supplier will be required to comply with the new conditions proposed in the Draft Guideline.
The changes to the dispute resolution processes will apply to those on-suppliers selling electricity to residential customers.
The conditions relating to dispute resolution and the interruption of supply impact a broad range of electricity on-suppliers including:
Please contact us if you would like further information on how these changes may impact you.
A copy of the Draft Guideline can be accessed here.
If you would like to make a submission on the Draft Guideline, you can do so by emailing your written submission to AERExemptions@aer.gov.au before 5:00pm Tuesday 19 December 2017.
A stakeholder forum will also be held at 9am Thursday 14 December 2017 to discuss the proposed dispute resolution changes.
For further information or discussion, please contact HopgoodGanim Lawyers' Resources and Energy team.