AER payment difficulty framework review

Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is conducting a review of the consumer protections available under the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) for those experiencing payment difficulties. On 14 May 2024, the AER released an issues paper for consultation.

The review is driven by the commitment in Action 8 of the ‘Towards Energy Equity’ strategy in which the AER committed to considering whether improvements could be made to the NECF to ensure that consumers experiencing payment difficulties are identified early, engaged proactively, and provided with assistance tailored to their individual needs.

Currently, the NECF offers various protections for consumers facing payment difficulties through regulatory instruments such as the National Energy Retail Law (NERL), National Energy Retail Rules (NERR), National Energy Retail Regulations, and the AER Customer Hardship Policy Guideline. These protections are further supported by voluntary guidance, like the AER Sustainable Payment Plans Framework.

A clear payment difficulty framework should ensure a consistent experience for consumers, irrespective of their energy provider. This review will consider the effectiveness of existing NECF provisions and AER instruments that protect consumers experiencing payment difficulty and aims to develop a set of recommendations for strengthening protections for consumers experiencing payment difficulty.

The review will include an examination of:

• protections for consumers experiencing payment difficulty due to hardship, including those set out in the AER Customer Hardship Policy Guideline

• protections for other residential consumers experiencing payment difficulty

• voluntary guidance for retailers in the AER Sustainable Payment Plans Framework

• protections from disconnection (including the minimum disconnection amount and other protections in Part 6 of the NERL)

Customers of exempt sellers (including consumers in embedded networks operated by exempt sellers) are not covered by this review, as they are subject to different protections. The AER is conducting a separate review of the exemptions framework.

The consultation period ends – and submissions are due by – 28 June 2024. If you wish to lodge a submission, this can be done verbally or in writing.  Please see the AER website for further information.

More to explorer

Autumn leaves falling with copy space on black background

Avoiding Compliance Atrophy: The Critical Role of Assurance Reviews for Growing Energy Retailers

As energy retailers expand their customer base and operations, ensuring ongoing compliance with regulatory obligations can become increasingly challenging. A key risk is “compliance atrophy” – where initially compliant documents, processes and systems slowly deteriorate and waste away over time if not regularly monitored and reviewed. What is compliance atrophy? Compliance atrophy is typically a result of documents, processes and systems being ‘updated’ or ‘reworded’ to reflect changes in focus for the business and input from other stakeholders including marketing

Technicians installing photovoltaic solar panels on roof of house.

Compliance Quarter’s Submission to the AER’s Review of the Compliance Procedures and Guidelines

On 11 April 2024, Compliance Quarter put forward its submission on proposed changes to the AER Compliance Procedures and Guidelines. The AER is reviewing its Compliance procedures and guidelines, which set out the manner and form in which energy businesses in jurisdictions that have adopted the National Energy Retail Law must submit compliance information and data to the AER. We argue that there should be consideration of measures to incentivise early reporting of potential breaches. These may, for example, take the

person wearing foo dog costume

Obligations of Energy Retailers Regarding Best Offer Information

Energy retailers in Victoria have specific obligations under the Energy Retail Code of Practice to provide clear information to customers about their ‘best offer’ – that is, the plan that would minimize the customer‘s energy costs based on their usage history. The objective is to ensure small customers can easily understand whether they are on the retailer‘s best plan for them and how to access the retailer‘s best offer if not. One of the significant challenges in the energy sector (as in banking and elsewhere) is that customers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *