The Essential Services Commission’s review into how Victorian energy retailers are implementing the payment difficulty framework

The Essential Services Commission’s review into how Victorian energy retailers are implementing the payment difficulty framework

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On 31 May 2022, the ESC published its findings of a review into how Victorian energy retailers are implementing the payment difficulty framework. The payment difficulty framework requires retailers to assist Victorians struggling to pay their energy bills. This includes helping consumers stay on top of bills by adjusting payment amounts and frequency, offering payment plans to manage missed bills or ongoing energy usage and providing advice on how to manage energy usage or apply for utility relief grants and concessions.  The review noted some positive findings. Since the framework came into effect in 2019, more customers have received tailored assistance compared to past retailer hardship programs. More customers are receiving more appropriate assistance, and there have been fewer disconnections for non-payment. But of those customers that were disconnected, over…
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EnergyAustralia ordered to pay a pecuniary penalty of 12 million dollars in respect of contraventions relating to customers who reside at premises where life support equipment is required.

EnergyAustralia ordered to pay a pecuniary penalty of 12 million dollars in respect of contraventions relating to customers who reside at premises where life support equipment is required.

AU Energy Compliance
On 3 June 2022, the Honourable Justice Colvin of the Federal Court of Australia published reasons for judgment in proceedings commenced by the Australian Energy Regulator against EnergyAustralia alleging numerous contraventions of provisions in the National Energy Retail Rules concerned with procedures to protect customers who depend upon electricity supply for the operation of life support equipment.  All energy retailers and exempt sellers should carefully review the reasons given by Justice Colvin and ensure that they will not repeat the mistakes made by EnergyAustralia. In commenting on the hardship provisions, Justice Colvin noted that “delay in registration deprives a customer of these important protections which obviously may have consequences that jeopardise, potentially, the life of the customer.”  The penalty that was imposed was based on the civil penalty regime at…
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