<strong>Navigating the NERL: A Guide for Authorised Retailers on Transferring Customers Without Consent</strong>

Navigating the NERL: A Guide for Authorised Retailers on Transferring Customers Without Consent

AU Energy Compliance
Transferring customers without their explicit informed consent (for more on EIC – click here) is a breach of the National Energy Retail Law (NERL) and can result in penalties. It is important for Authorised Retailers to understand the rules and regulations that apply to the transfer of customers without consent. This advice outlines the rules that apply to the transfer of customers without consent and provides recommendations for Authorised Retailers to ensure compliance. Definition of Small Customer A small customer is a residential customer, defined in section 3 of the NERL as customers who purchase energy principally for personal, household or domestic use at premises, or a business customer who consumes less than 100MWh of electricity annually in New South Wales and Queensland, or less than 160MWh of electricity annually…
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Navigating the NERR: A Guide for Energy Retailers on Payment Plans for Hardship Customers

Navigating the NERR: A Guide for Energy Retailers on Payment Plans for Hardship Customers

AU Energy Compliance
Retailers must comply with the National Energy Retail Rules when establishing payment plans for customers experiencing financial hardship. This includes having regard to the customer's capacity to pay, any arrears owing by the customer, and the customer's expected energy consumption needs over the following 12 month period. A payment plan for a hardship customer must include an offer for the customer to pay for their energy consumption in advance or in arrears by instalments. Retailers should consider adopting the AER’s Sustainable Payment Plans Framework as a good practice framework for assessing customers’ capacity to pay. When offering flexible payment options to hardship customers, retailers should consider whether debt waivers or payment matching are appropriate. Retailers must also inform customers to whom they offer a payment plan of the duration of…
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Navigating the NERL: Disconnection Restrictions for Energy Retailers

Navigating the NERL: Disconnection Restrictions for Energy Retailers

AU Energy Compliance
Disconnecting energy supply to a customer is a serious matter and should only be done in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations. In NECF and elsewhere, retailers must not arrange for the de-energisation of a customer's premises to occur in certain circumstances. This article outlines when a retailer cannot disconnect a customer. Restrictions on Disconnecting energy supply A retailer must not arrange for the de-energisation of a customer's premises to occur in the following circumstances: Where the premises are registered under Part 7 as having life support equipment; Where the customer has made a complaint, directly related to the reason for the proposed de-energisation, to the retailer under the retailer's standard complaints and dispute resolution procedures, and the complaint remains unresolved; Where the customer has made a complaint, directly…
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An approach to Understanding New Regulatory Obligations

An approach to Understanding New Regulatory Obligations

AU Energy Compliance, Compliance, Consumer Data Right, Victorian Energy
Understanding new regulatory obligations can be a daunting task for any organization. It is important to be aware of all applicable laws and regulations, both federal, state, local, and internal company-instituted rules. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, so it is essential to ensure that everyone in authority is aware of the law and understands it. This is the role of compliance, to make sure people know the rules beforehand and help to ensure that they continuously follow them. To understand new regulatory obligations, there are a few key steps that organizations should take. Research The first step is to research the applicable laws and regulations. This includes researching federal, state, local, and internal company-instituted rules. It is important to be aware of all potentially applicable laws and regulations.…
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Adequate Assistance for Customers in Financial Hardship

Adequate Assistance for Customers in Financial Hardship

Victorian Energy
On 23 January 2023, the Essential Services Commission (ESC) announced that Alinta Energy Retail Sales Pty Ltd (Alinta Energy) had paid more than $380,000 in penalties after allegedly breaching energy rules that protect Victorian consumers by failing to provide adequate assistance to customers in financial hardship. Commenting on the relevant regulatory framework, ESC Chairperson,  Kate Symons said: "Energy is an essential service and businesses delivering energy must follow the rules. There is no excuse for failing to provide the help consumers are legally entitled to, especially those who may be experiencing vulnerability.” And, further: "“Placing unnecessary barriers and prolonging the time it takes for customers to receive assistance can heighten the hardship being experienced, and that’s something the commission won’t tolerate. All of these customers were actively engaging with Alinta Energy, and many…
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Navigating the CDR: Consumer Data Right Policy Essentials

Navigating the CDR: Consumer Data Right Policy Essentials

Consumer Data Right
A CDR policy is required for data holders, and if your business is or will be a data holder under the CDR regime, now is an important time to act in the development of such a policy. According to Privacy Safeguard 1 and CDR Rule 7.2, all CDR entities must have a clearly expressed and up-to-date policy about how they manage CDR data (CDR policy). The policy must be provided free of charge and made available in accordance with the CDR Rules. What needs to be included in a CDR Policy? The CDR policy must include information about how a CDR consumer can access and seek correction of their CDR data, how they may complain, and how the entity will deal with a complaint. It must also: Indicate how the…
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<strong>Energy Sector Data Compliance: A Guide to Navigating the New Era of Transparency and Accountability</strong>

Energy Sector Data Compliance: A Guide to Navigating the New Era of Transparency and Accountability

AU Energy Compliance, Consumer Data Right
As the world continues to shift towards a more sustainable and efficient energy sector, the importance of responsible data management has become increasingly apparent. The Australian government has recognized this and has recently published a compliance guidance document for data holders in the energy sector. This document is designed to provide information on the regulations and requirements for data management, including data collection, storage, and sharing, and to promote transparency and accountability in the energy sector. One key area addressed in the document is data collection. Data holders in the energy sector are required to collect data in a manner that is accurate, complete, and relevant to their business operations. This data must be collected in a way that is consistent with the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy…
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<strong>Conduct Risk: A New & Emerging Risk For Energy Businesses</strong>

Conduct Risk: A New & Emerging Risk For Energy Businesses

AU Energy Compliance, Financial Services, NT Energy Compliance
What is Conduct Risk Conduct risk refers to the risk that a company's employees, agents, or contractors may engage in behaviour that is inappropriate, unethical, or illegal, and which could lead to harm or damage to the company or its stakeholders. Although there is no official definition, it is usually associated with issues such as how consumers are handled, employee compensation, and how businesses handle conflicts of interest. The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) states conduct risk is a risk of improper, unethical, or unlawful activity that may be brought on by intentional acts or unintentional deficiencies in an entity's procedures, framework, or training programs. Conduct risk has become an increasingly important consideration for companies in Australia, as regulatory agencies have become more focused on ensuring that companies operate…
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Process Overview: Converting a site into an embedded network

Process Overview: Converting a site into an embedded network

Embedded Networks
Converting an existing site into an embedded or exempt network is a complex process that requires careful consideration of the relevant regulations and requirements. This guide outlines the steps required to convert a site into an embedded network in those states that have adopted the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF). Step 1: Prior to Lodging an Application Before lodging an application for approval with the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), the prospective Exempt Network Operator must inform the relevant registered distributor in writing of the proposed conversion. Step 2: Provision of Retrofit Information The prospective Exempt Network Operator must provide notice, by letter, to all tenants at the retrofit location, of the plan to install an embedded or exempt network at the site. The prospective Exempt Network Operator must provide each…
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Navigating Due Diligence: A Comprehensive Guide to Reducing Risk in Transactions

Navigating Due Diligence: A Comprehensive Guide to Reducing Risk in Transactions

Compliance, Financial Services
Due diligence is an essential process to follow to reduce risk in a variety of transactions. Due diligence is the structured process of investigating and testing the true position of a business or asset. Due diligence is typically used in business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, but can be applied in other contexts, such as when hiring a new employee or when making large purchases. Due Diligence Processes The due diligence process has several steps, including evaluating the goals of the project, analyzing business financials, inspecting documents, analyzing business plans and models, forming a final offering, assessing risks, and categorizing diligence efforts. During the due diligence process, buyers carefully scrutinize every aspect of the target company or asset, from the business plan to real estate and cash flow. The…
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