The use of Machine Learning in Compliance

The use of Machine Learning in Compliance

AU Energy Compliance, Financial Services
The regulatory environment is evolving at a lightning pace. As a result, compliance officers must also keep up. To meet this challenge, AI applications have become more capable, particularly in regards to providing answers that are easy to interpret. As you might imagine, using an AI-powered system to process this data would be incredibly valuable for companies in a variety of fields—from financial institutions to insurance companies to tech firms. In compliance, the goal is to ensure regulatory compliance by identifying, evaluating and responding to regulatory requirements. The work can be challenging; firms and individuals often work in an environment without sufficient information to effectively meet goals and objectives. As artificial intelligence and automation become more prevalent in the world, it’s imperative that firms continue to utilize compliance know-how in…
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New Round of Enforcement Actions

New Round of Enforcement Actions

AU Energy Compliance
A fresh round of enforcement actions have been announced by the Essential Services Commission of Victoria (ESC). Energy sellers should review the announcements made by the ESC and ensure that they have adequate controls in place to avoid the same issues. Explicit Informed Consent On 26 July 2021, the ESC has announced that Simply Energy had paid penalty notices totalling $2.5 million after being issued 125 penalty notices. The penalty notices were issued to Simply Energy after two external sales agents allegedly undertook deliberate fraud to transfer 525 gas and electricity accounts at 264 properties without any contact to obtain explicit informed consent. Energy retailers are required to obtain explicit informed consent before transferring a customer. We've looked at the requirements relating to explicit informed consent in detail here and…
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AER’s Annual compliance and enforcement report 2020-21

AER’s Annual compliance and enforcement report 2020-21

Uncategorized
A report published by the AER highlights the range of enforcement activities undertaken during 2020-21 and serves as a clear warning to energy retailers of the importance of ensuring compliance with the Rules and Laws. Source: AER's Annual compliance and enforcement report 2020-21 The AER has highlighted actions relating to failures by energy retailers in areas including wrongful disconnection, failure to provide life support protections to vulnerable customers, and failure to meet timeframes for installing and repairing meters used to calculate customers’ energy bills. Highlights from the report include energy businesses paying a total of $3.8 Million in civil penalties as part of resolutions to litigation commenced by the AER and a further $960,000 being paid in infringement notices for alleged breaches of the Laws. Source: AER's Annual compliance and…
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Is Victoria really banning Embedded Networks, or just Re-naming them?

Is Victoria really banning Embedded Networks, or just Re-naming them?

Uncategorized
In a recent article, we summarised the findings of the Expert Panel in the Victorian Embedded Networks Review Draft Recommendations Report (Report). The implementation of the Panel’s recommendations would see the end of ‘embedded networks’ by 2023. However, subject to certain conditions, ‘private networks’ will remain. Below, we highlight the key components of the Report for embedded network operators in Victoria. It is clear from the Report that embedded networks will not be ‘banned’, rather they will be re-named ‘private networks’ and subject to stricter regulation. Residential vs Commercial The Panel’s recommendations would apply to residential embedded networks only. The likely reason for this is that the election promise on which this review was based, referred only to embedded networks in residential apartment buildings. In respect of commercial or industrial…
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Submission to the AER’s Network and Retail Exemption Guidelines Review

Submission to the AER’s Network and Retail Exemption Guidelines Review

AU Energy Compliance
Compliance Quater has lodged a submission with the AER addressing the questions raised by the AER but also drawing the AER's attention to a range of issues that we have identified within the guidelines. We've submitted that the AER should consider implementing a 'fast track approval' process for the approval of proposed retrofit conversions of sites where the resulting embedded network would clearly bring consumers better pricing and where the configuration of the network infrastructure facilitates consumers who wish to 'opt-out.' As energy sellers know, the regulatory framework is partly designed to set the minimum standards of conduct expected and to punish those that are non-compliant. We believe that it is time that incentives were built into the regulatory framework. Where energy sellers develop products or services that have a…
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Update on Victoria’s proposal to ‘ban’ embedded networks

Update on Victoria’s proposal to ‘ban’ embedded networks

AU Energy Compliance
In January we reported on updates to the Victorian Government’s proposal to ‘ban’ embedded networks within residential developments. The Expert Panel that was established by the Victorian Government to determine how to implement this ban has now produced a draft report. The Expert Panel is accepting submissions and the consultation period for the draft report closes on 6 August 2021 at 5 PM. The Expert Panel is particularly interested in submissions on the following: • The proposed requirement to have renewable or clean energy technologies and what this might look like in new residential private networks• The most cost-effective approach to upgrading internal metering and associated infrastructure in legacy (existing) embedded networks to readily enable a transition for customers to an on-market retailer of their choice• Reasonable timeframes for upgrading…
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AER’s 2021 to 2022 Compliance and Enforcement Priorities: Consumer Protection

AER’s 2021 to 2022 Compliance and Enforcement Priorities: Consumer Protection

AU Energy Compliance
#NECF, #Retailers, #ExemptOperators On 23 June 2021, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released five compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021 to 2022 with a major focus on protecting energy consumers. The AER Chair, Clare Savage, said that the AER will be monitoring retailers to ensure that they identify residential customers in financial difficulty and offer appropriate payment plans to those consumers who need assistance as one of the five key priorities. Commenting further, Clare Savage noted, "Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the AER has monitored consumer debt levels as well as the number of consumers that are in retailer hardship policies or have payment plans. It is concerning to see that while debt levels have increased, the number of consumers with payment plans or existing retailer hardship programs has not." The…
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Energy Legislation Amendment (Energy Fairness) Bill 2021 – The Breakdown

Energy Legislation Amendment (Energy Fairness) Bill 2021 – The Breakdown

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#Victoria, #Exemptsellers The Energy Fairness Bill tabled in the Victorian Parliament in late May 2021 has been in development for almost three years. If passed, we will see the most significant changes to the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic) (Act) since the introduction of Division 5A of Part 2 (small scale solar generation).  Below, we provide a breakdown of the key elements of the bill for energy retailers operating in Victoria - hint: these regulations will not align Victoria more closely with the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF). We also highlight some key areas of concern with respect to the legislative drafting which should be explored and addressed prior to implementation.   Imprisonment Despite what some have been led to believe, we are confident that no employee of a retailer will…
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Review of the AER’s Network and Retail Exemption Guidelines

Review of the AER’s Network and Retail Exemption Guidelines

AU Energy Compliance
#Embedded #AER On 18 May 2021, the Australian Energy Regulator published a consultation paper concerning a review of the AER's (Retail) Exempt Selling Guideline and Electricity Network Service Provider - Registration Exemption Guidelines. The consultation paper was published as a result of the review commenced in February 2021 into each of those respective guidelines. The stated objectives of the AER's review include to improve the clarity and readability of exemption requirements, to streamline the Network Exemption Guideline and to remove redundancies, to clarify concepts such as own, control, and operate, to introduce new standardised statements where information requirements need to be met, and to improve consistency between the two guidelines. Clearly, this review being conducted by the Australian Energy Regulator is of significant importance to all exempt and authorised retailers…
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Essential Services Commission consultation paper on variation to the 2021 default offer

Essential Services Commission consultation paper on variation to the 2021 default offer

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#Victorian #Embedded #Retailers On 14 May 2021, the Essential Services Commission of Victoria announced that it had kicked off its next review into the Victorian Default Offer (VDO) and that it was seeking feedback from consumers and the energy industry before issuing a decision later in the year. The Essential Services Commission has released its consultation paper on variation to the 2021 default offer. The Essential Services Commission notes that the variation is required to account for changes to network tariffs applying from 1 July 2021. The consultation paper itself notes that the VDO was introduced by the Victorian government to regulate standing offer prices for electricity in Victoria commencing on 1 July 2019. Standing offers are contracts that electricity retailers are obliged to make available to domestic and small…
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