AGL’s Customer Hardship Audit

Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on facebook
Facebook

On 7 May 2021 the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released the results of the latest compliance audit under the National Energy Retail Law. AGL Energy Ltd carried out an audit to assess compliance with its hardship, payment plan and disconnection obligations for the period 1 January 2020 to 30 April 2020. With the exception of one instance of non- compliance, the audit found that AGL complied in all material respects with its hardship, payment plans, and disconnection obligations. AGL rectified the issue giving rise to the partial compliance by updating its retail systems.

Hardship Obligations

Part Two of the National Energy Retail Law and Parts Three and Six of the National Energy Retail Rules set out obligations that retailers have in relation to payment plans, hardship policies, debt recovery, and disconnections. These obligations include that retailers maintain and implement hardship policies pursuant to s 43 of the National Energy Retail Law whose purpose is to identify residential customers experiencing payment difficulties due to hardship and to assist those customers to better manage their energy bills on an ongoing basis.

The minimum requirements for a customer hardship policy are set out in s 44 and the guideline published by the AER. Pursuant to s 48, market retail contract terms and conditions have no effect to the extent that they are inconsistent with the application of the retailer’s customer hardship policy. A hardship customer is a residential customer of a retailer who is identified as a customer experiencing financial payment difficulties due to hardship in accordance with the retailer’s customer hardship policy.

The regulatory obligations that apply to energy retailers in relation to customer hardship, payment plans, and disconnection are complex and comprehensive. AGL has done well to achieve such a good result in this recent audit.

Self-Assessment Tool

Compliance Quarter is working on a series of tools to empower retailers conducting internal compliance assessment reviews. Our tool sets out a series of questions that can be answered by internal operations and compliance staff and, once those questions are answered, produces a comprehensive assessment report that can be used to improve existing controls so as to reduce the likelihood of noncompliance.

Our internal compliance assessment reporting tool will be available to all of our existing clients. If you are interested in our compliance assessment reporting tool or the other services that we offer, please get in touch.

More to explorer

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

low angle photo of sydney opera house australia

Guide to the National Energy Retail Rules

The National Energy Retail Rules (NERR) are a set of rules that govern the sale and supply of electricity and gas by retailers to consumers in Australia, alongside the related National Energy Retail Law (NERL). The NERR came into effect on 1 July 2012 in Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, and the Commonwealth. South Australia followed on 1 February 2013, New South Wales on 1 July 2013, and Queensland on 1 July 2015. The NERR do not yet apply in

Leave a Reply

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