AER Releases Issues Paper on Reviewing Retail Performance Reporting Guidelines

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The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has released an issues paper for consultation on potential changes to the AER (Retail Law) Performance Reporting Procedures and Guidelines. The guidelines specify how energy retailers report data on their performance to the AER.

The AER is considering changes to improve the data’s quality, relevance and comprehensiveness. Proposed changes include new indicators, refining current ones, increasing data frequency and granularity, consolidating some indicators and making the guidelines’ format clearer.

New indicators could include those on embedded networks, life support customers and family violence. The AER said embedded networks data would “allow us to better monitor customers in these networks” and “support our compliance and enforcement functions.” Life support customer data would “enable us to identify broader compliance trends [and] better monitor retailer compliance.” Family violence data would help “monitor [retailers’] compliance efforts” with new rules.

Regarding current indicators, the AER wants to clarify definitions, ensure data totals match and consider 0-day debt and more debt data ranges. It said, “additional debt data gave us a more complete picture of customer debt cycles.”

The AER may broaden the debt definition to include “alternative debt arrangements.” It also wants to split electricity and gas debts, capture all meter types and associated tariffs, check other “meter types that function similarly to prepayment meters” and monitor concession uptake rates.

The AER is considering monthly data for “selected indicators, such as debts, payment plans, hardship programs, credit collections and disconnections” to “observe the impact of significant events…in a timelier manner.” It said retailers provided voluntary weekly and monthly COVID-19 data, showing they have “the capability to report on 0-day and 30 to 90-day debt.” The AER also wants input on more granular, distribution zone-level data.

To reduce reporting burden, the AER may consolidate some complaint categories and remove little-used indicators. It asked for input on other removable indicators.

The AER also sought input from distributors on reporting service standards and Guaranteed Service Level scheme data in the guidelines instead of voluntarily and on small claims compensation data if adopted in a jurisdiction.

Interested parties can make submissions to the AER by 7 August 2023. The AER will publish draft guidelines for further consultation, aiming to release final guidelines in January 2024 for a 1 July 2024 start.

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