COAG Energy Council meeting

AU Energy Compliance
Energy Ministers met on 10 August 2018 for the 18th Energy Council Ministerial Meeting. The Ministers considered a number of issues including the National Energy Guarantee and the ACCC's Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry. Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash By Anne Wardell, Regulatory Specialist, Compliance Quarter. The National Energy Guarantee (NEG) In relation to the NEG, the Ministers referred to the work completed to date by the Independent Energy Security Board (ESB) and 'reiterated the importance of effectively integrating energy and climate policy with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments working together to deliver more affordable, reliable and cleaner power'. The Ministers agreed to the release of the exposure draft of the National Electricity Law amendments, subject to confirmation at a Council teleconference to be held on 14 August 2018. The question of whether a…
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Regulatory innovation and collaboration in a dynamic environment

AU Energy Compliance
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) Chair, Paula Conboy delivered a speech at the Energy Networks Australia Regulation Seminar 2018 on 25 July 2018. In the speech Ms Conboy talked about 'regulatory innovation and collaboration in a dynamic environment – what has been achieved and where to from here'. Photo by James Pond on Unsplash By Anne Wardell, Regulatory Specialist, Compliance Quarter. Ms Conboy refered to the five strategic objectives set out in the AER Strategic Statement, published on 22 August 2017: Drive effective competition where feasible Provide effective regulation where competition is not feasible Equip consumers to participate effectively and protect those who are unable to safeguard their own interests Use our expertise to inform debate about Australia’s energy future, the long term interest of consumers and the regulatory landscape, and Take a long term…
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Alinta Energy fined $40,000 for allegedly switching customers without consent

AU Energy Compliance
The Australian Energy Regulator has issued two infringement notices to Alinta Energy in relation to breaches of s 38(b) of the Retail Law in relation to obtaining explicit informed consent. The penalties imposed totalled $40,000. This serves as an important reminder to all energy retailers that they will be held responsible for the actions of their agents. Photo by Rodolfo Marques on Unsplash By Anne Wardell, Regulatory Specialist, Compliance Quarter. One of the breaches occurred as part of a telephone marketing campaign conducted by an agent of Alinta Energy. The customer was transferred to an Alinta account notwithstanding that she had indicated on the phone that she wanted to remain with her current retailer. There was no evidence that the customer had provided explicit informed consent. The other breach occurred following a visit…
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Consumer data right – speech by Rod Sims Chairman of the ACCC

AU Energy Compliance, Financial Services
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chair Rod Sims has delivered a speech to the National Consumer Data Policy Research Centre on the consumer data right (CDR) and the digital platforms inquiry (DPI). The CDR will be rolled out first in the banking industry followed by the energy and telecommunications industries. Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash By Anne Wardell, Regulatory Specialist, Compliance Quarter. Consumer data right (CDR) The consumer data right (CDR) was introduced by the government in November 2017. Following the Open Banking Review, the Treasurer announced that banking would be the first sector to which the CDR would apply. At the same time as the Final Report was released, the government released the Consumer Data Right Booklet. The Booklet contains the following useful summary: The ACCC will have the…
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Good news for smaller energy retailers in the ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry—Final Report

Good news for smaller energy retailers in the ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry—Final Report

AU Energy Compliance
The recommendations from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its recent ‘ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry—Final Report’ (the report) are wide-ranging and, if accepted by the Federal Government, will have a huge impact on all energy businesses. We summarise the recommendations at  https://www.compliancequarter.com.au/accc-blueprint-to-reduce-energy-prices/. By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter.  In its Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry—Final Report the ACCC judges that the existing regulatory framework has failed consumers miserably and is in need of a radical overhaul. Some of the recommendations might seem to create an added compliance burden for energy businesses, such as the recommendation for a new Government-determined ‘default price’ across the National Electricity Market (NEM). However, in this article I want to draw out some ways in the report presents a positive business opportunity for some energy…
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ACCC blueprint to reduce energy prices

AU Energy Compliance
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released its final report in relation to Retail Electricity Pricing; Restoring electricity affordability and Australia's competitive advantage. The main thrust of the ACCC Report is how to reduce energy prices for Australian consumers. The ACCC has made 56 recommendations in the Report which are included in the Executive Summary. By Anne Wardell, Regulatory Specialist, Compliance Quarter. Some of the more interesting recommendations include: Abolishing the current retail ‘standing’ offers (which are not the same between retailers), and replacing them with a new ‘default’ offer consistent across all retailers, set at a price determined by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). Requiring retailers to reference any discounts to the new ‘default’ offer pricing determined by the AER, making it easier for consumers to genuinely compare…
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ACCC has instituted court proceedings against Click Energy

ACCC has instituted court proceedings against Click Energy

AU Energy Compliance, Consumer
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Click Energy alleging it made false and misleading marketing claims about discounts and savings that customers in Victoria and Queensland could obtain. Photo of the Oar Mace of Admiralty from the Federal Court of Australia website. By Anne Wardell, Regulatory Specialist, Compliance Quarter. The breaches are alleged to have occurred from around October 2017 to March 2018 and involve a representation by Click Energy that customers could obtain discounts of between 7 and 29 per cent off Click Energy's bill if they paid their bills on time. The problem with the offer was that the discounts offered applied to market offer rates which varied and were higher than the standing offer prices. Allegations were also…
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Review of Compliance Procedures and Guidelines

Review of Compliance Procedures and Guidelines

AU Energy Compliance
On 18 June the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) announced that it was reviewing its Compliance Procedures and Guidelines (Guidelines) to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the reporting regime. As with all reviews conducted by the AER, stakeholder feedback is being sought. The major changes in the review of compliance procedures and guidelines are in relation to the form and content of reports. By Anne Wardell, Regulatory Specialist, Compliance Quarter. Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash The AER has released for consultation draft amendments to the current Compliance Procedures and Guidelines together with a Notice of Draft Instrument. The current Guidelines received their last substantial review in June 2017. Since then there have been a number of changes made to the National Electricity Rules (NERL) and the National Energy Retail Rules…
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EWON expanded jurisdiction and new fee structure

EWON expanded jurisdiction and new fee structure

AU Energy Compliance
The Energy and Water Ombudsman of NSW (EWON) has announced changes to its Constitution and a new funding model. This follows an extensive review conducted by EWON in response to the requirement for Exempt Entities to become members of EWON. In this article, we look at the changes including expanded jurisdiction and a new fee structure. By Anne Wardell, Regulatory Specialist, Compliance Quarter. Photo by Ramiro Mendes on Unsplash KPMG Final Report As part of the review, EWON commissioned KPMG to assist and review proposed models. On 9 May 2018, KPMG released its Final report: KPMG's Final report on membership model, fees, voting rights and Board composition (the Report). The Report considered the following issues: • Membership model; • Fee structure; • Member voting rights; and • Board composition. The Report includes the following…
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The End of Retailers Discounting the Truth?

The End of Retailers Discounting the Truth?

AU Energy Compliance
This week saw the commencement of the AEMC’s rule change ‘putting a stop to pseudo-discount deals that leave consumers worse off.’ Could this be the end of retailers discounting the truth? We take a look. By Connor James, Compliance Quarter. Background Electricity price rises make the news and are constantly a source of political angst for the government of the day. Electricity pricing is made up of a number of components including wholesale costs, network, and environmental charges. The easiest political target in this mix is the ‘retail margin’ meaning the amount made by the retailer for providing the electricity retailing service. On 18 December 2017, Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy submitted a rule change request to the AEMC under the National Energy Retail Law (NERL)…
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