By Anne Wardell, Compliance Quarter.
The National Energy Retail Amendment (Notification of end of fixed benefit period) Rule 2017 No. 2., Schedule 1 commenced on 1 February 2018. It amended the National Energy Retail Rules (the Rules) in the following way:
• Omitted the existing Rule 45A and introduced a new Rule 45A Definitions;
• Inserted a new Rule 48A Retailer notice of benefit change – market retail contract; and
• Inserted a new Rule 48B Benefit change notice guidelines.
The amended rule requires energy retailers with small customers on market retail contracts for gas or electricity which includes a minimum or fixed benefit period to notify customers prior to the end of the benefit period (energy discount expiry).
The Information Sheet which accompanies the Rule change sets out the Obligations which must be met under the new rule. The obligations under the new Rule will be implemented in stages with the first stage commencing on 1 February 2018.
First stage to the end of the energy discount expiry
‘Commencing on 1 February 2018, retailers will be obliged to send notices with simple information to relevant customers. This information includes:
• the customer’s metering identifier
• a statement that the customer’s benefit will change and the date on which this will happen
• reference to the AER’s price comparator website Energy Made Easy
• reference to the customer’s ability to request historical billing data (under existing rules) to assist in using Energy Made Easy
• any early termination charges payable under the contract.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) will publish guidelines in relation to the information required to be included in the notice by 1 July 2018.
Second stage to the end of the energy discount expiry
Schedule 2 of the amending rule commences on 14 November 2017 and covers the Benefit change notice guidelines and notice requirements. It will insert a new Part 8 to the Rules.
After this date, the Benefit change notice must comply with the guidelines.
For further information see AEMO news item From today consumers will get advance warnings to shop around before their energy discounts finish.