The Essential Services Commission (Vic) Minimum Feed-In Tariff review 2022/23

The Essential Services Commission (Vic) Minimum Feed-In Tariff review 2022/23

AU Energy Compliance
On 2 December 2021, the Essential Services Commission (ESC) released its draft decision for minimum feed-in tariffs for solar exporters. It is anticipated that the figures in the draft will apply from 1 July 2022. This short article will discuss the proposed tariffs and provide a brief summary of the reasoning behind the adjusted tariff. We will also look at how the ESC calculates the tariff. The New Proposed Tariffs: The draft minimum feed-in tariffs have been calculated the same way as previous reviews (discussed below). The draft minimum feed-in tariffs are as follows: The draft minimum flat feed-in tariff for 2022–23 is 5.2 cents per kWh. This is 22 percent lower than the minimum rate for 2021–22. The draft time-varying feed-in tariffs are also lower than for 2021–22. *…
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Refresher: the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Exempt Selling Guidelines

Refresher: the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Exempt Selling Guidelines

AU Energy Compliance
NB: The most recent guidelines for exempt energy sellers are contained in the AER (Retail) Exempt Selling Guideline dated March 2018. In February 2021, the AER commenced a review of the guidelines. A consultation paper was published on 18 May 2021 and stakeholder submissions were closed on 30 June 2021. At present, the 2018 guidelines are still applicable. However, it is anticipated that there may be changes when the review process is complete. Introduction The AER guidelines for exemption relate to any person or business (entity) who sells energy to another person. Such a seller must have either a retailer authorisation or a retail exemption. To put it plainly ‘exemption’ in this context refers to whether a person or entity is required to be authorised or whether they can seek…
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ACCC Report: Prices, Profits, and Margins in the Supply of Electricity in the NEM

ACCC Report: Prices, Profits, and Margins in the Supply of Electricity in the NEM

AU Energy Compliance
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published its sixth report as part of its inquiry into the prices, profits and margins in the supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market (NEM).  The report has made a number of findings including that electricity costs are now the lowest they have been in eight years with the average annual residential spend now $1,434.00, down $128.00 or 8% over the previous two financial years.  Lower wholesale spot market prices have started to flow through to consumers and this, according to the ACCC, is the primary cause of decreases in overall costs across the last two financial years. The ACCC expects a further reduction in the wholesale costs in the next year. The ACCC considers that the introduction of the default…
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Victorian Essential Services Commission Annual Report 2020-21 – Summary

Victorian Essential Services Commission Annual Report 2020-21 – Summary

AU Energy Compliance
On 17 November 2021, the Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC) released its Annual Report for 2020-21 (the Report). The purpose of the Report is to provide an overview of the previous financial year (ending 20 June 2021), including what they did, how they performed on key goals, and what they plan to do in the future. Key highlights of 2020-21 There were a number of key issues discussed in the Report: COVID-19 - this had a big impact on the ESC and influenced their activities in a number of areas.   Some key directives they implemented included:         monitoring and reporting on customer and industry data in the energy and water industry to track the impact of the pandemicincreasing customer protections from disconnection, and protections for small businesses facing payment difficulties due to…
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AER Calls for Energy Retailers to Focus on Support for Customers in Hardship

AER Calls for Energy Retailers to Focus on Support for Customers in Hardship

AU Energy Compliance
During COVID, we saw governments enacting laws to support people suffering financial hardship due to the pandemic. We saw this in relation to tenancy evictions and the like. Despite the emergence from lockdowns in several states, people are still doing it tough. Debt, for many people, is not easy to pay down. That position will not change soon. In a recent publication on its website, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has called on energy retailers to provide “better” support to customers in hardship. The AER released its Annual Retail Markets Report 2020/21 on 30 November (2021) and noted that despite the fall in retail energy prices for households for the year 20/21, energy debt had risen by 12%, and the amount of the debt of customers entering the various retailer’s…
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Electricity and Embedded Networks within Residential Parks in NSW

Electricity and Embedded Networks within Residential Parks in NSW

AU Energy Compliance
The New South Wales Government is currently reviewing laws that apply to residential and land lease communities. The Government notes that more than 35,000 people live in over 500 residential and land lease communities across New South Wales. The review focuses on the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013. This Act covers permanent sites in caravan and residential parks and sets out the rights and responsibilities of residents and park operators. A review is conducted every five years that considers how the legislation is working. Various parties have lodged submissions on the consultation paper that the New South Wales Government published. Embedded networks are specifically considered within the consultation paper. The consultation paper notes that part 7 of the Act regulates how and what an operator can charge for utility…
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The Ongoing Viability of Big Batteries

The Ongoing Viability of Big Batteries

AU Energy Compliance
An article appeared in The Guardian on 30 November 2021, raising concerns from battery makers and storage providers in relation to the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) impending rule changes. The AEMC’s draft report, released in July 2021, proposed charging storage providers for drawing power. This drew responses from Tesla and Snowy Hydro: Tesla: (the charges would) kill the commercial viability of all grid storage projects. Snowy Hydro: This is a major policy change, amounting to a tax on infrastructure critical to achieving a renewable future. Both companies noted that the consumer would end up paying higher electricity costs. On 2 December 2021, the AEMC published its final decision on its website, under the heading “Incentives for more batteries to enter the market”. It was clear that they had not…
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Time to understand “Ring-fencing”

Time to understand “Ring-fencing”

AU Energy Compliance
On 3 November 2021, The Australian Energy Regulator (AER)  concluded and published a revision of the Ring-fencing Guideline. Parties are expected to be fully compliant with the updated Guideline (version 3) by 3 February 2022. The Ring-fencing Guideline was revised to establish a framework and controls for a competitive market for deploying community-scale batteries and Stand-Alone Power Systems (SAPS). By separating monopoly network services and avoiding cross-subsidisation of large Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP), the AER seeks to make energy services more competitive and beneficial for customers. What is Ring-fencing? Ring-fencing describes the division of regulated services (eg. installation/maintenance of poles and wires) and contestable services (eg. installation of smart meters) provided by DNSPs. Thus, the Ring-fencing Guideline regulates to what extent the DNSPs can provide regulated services and when…
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Standardised Models for Regulated Metering Services

Standardised Models for Regulated Metering Services

AU Energy Compliance
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is developing a standardised metering services model to use in the future across all jurisdictions. The AER intends to standardise the presentation of distributors’ metering expenditure for the AER’s assessment. The outcomes sought are: Better and more transparent presentation for consumers;Unified understanding amongst distributors; andMore time-efficient processing of proposals by the AER. Currently, the AER assesses each distributors proposal for metering models individually, including their CAPEX, OPEX, revenue and pricing models. The absence of a unified collation and presentation structure results in complexities for the AER, retailers and customers. Different models with varying levels of complexity and information content are a significant barrier for retailers and consumers who engage with distributors’ proposals. A unified model is sought to provide for greater engagement of consumers and…
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Simply Energy pays penalty for alleged wrongful disconnection

Simply Energy pays penalty for alleged wrongful disconnection

AU Energy Compliance
On 13 August 2021, the Essential Services Commission (Victoria) served a penalty notice on IPower 2 Pty Limited and IPower Pty Limited (trading as Simply Energy). The Penalty notice can be viewed here. Most energy providers are aware of the processes they must undertake before disconnecting a customer's energy supply. The Penalty Notice in this case cites a wrongful disconnection contravention within the meaning of s 54E of the Act: S54E (definitions) wrongful disconnection contraventionmeans a contravention referred to in section 54H(1)(c); Section 54E cites 54H(1)(c) identifies “conduct that requires compliance with the Energy Retail Code”. The Energy Retail Code itself at clause 118 states: Request for de-energisationIf a customer requests the retailer to arrange for de-energisation of the customer’s premises, the retailer must use its best endeavours to arrange for: de-energisation…
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