Review of the Authorisation and Exemption Framework

Review of the Authorisation and Exemption Framework

AU Energy Compliance
The Australian Energy Regulator has published an issues paper titled Retail Authorisation and Exemption Review. Broadly, the Issues Paper considers the changing nature of the energy market, the risks posed by new products and services, and asks whether changes are needed to the Retail Authorisation and Exemption Framework. This is a major consultation that will have long-lasting ramifications for the energy market and consumers.  It builds on the work of the Energy Security Board, the Australian Energy Market Commission (particularly in relation to embedded network regulation) and prior work by the AER. The AER is undertaking a review of the Retail Authorisation and Exemption frameworks set out in the Retail Law.  The review arises as a result of the Energy Security Board’s (ESB) final advice to energy ministers in July…
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When can an energy retailer change prices for Victorian small energy customers?

When can an energy retailer change prices for Victorian small energy customers?

AU Energy Compliance
Clause 94 of the Energy Retail Code of Practice aims to provide small customers with certainty that tariffs payable under a market retail contract can only be increased by a retailer on a network tariff change date or otherwise as permitted by Clause 94. The General Rule Pursuant to subclause 2, a retailer must not increase any of the tariffs payable by a small customer under a market retail contract except with effect from a network tariff change date. Subclause 3 states that a retailer is not permitted to increase any tariffs payable by a small customer under a market retail contract with effect from a network tariff change date if the relevant contract is a fixed price period contract or the retailer is otherwise prohibited from doing so under the terms and conditions…
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Managing the compliance of contractors

Managing the compliance of contractors

AU Energy Compliance, Financial Services
Start with a risk assessment. A risk assessment is a means of identifying the risks that your business faces and assessing the likelihood of them occurring. It also involves determining the controls you currently have in place to manage those risks, as well as whether or not any additional controls are necessary. When you are considering if your contractors are a compliance risk, look at their role, responsibility, applicable regulatory penalties and existing controls. We've looked at the need for more comprehensive risk assessments in previous posts, if you don't have sufficient resources to conduct such an assessment consider hiring a third party to do so. The formality of the controls should depend on the risks. There are no hard and fast rules. You should design controls to achieve your…
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When should you hire a compliance manager?

When should you hire a compliance manager?

AU Energy Compliance, Financial Services
If you're wondering if it's time to hire a compliance manager, ask yourself how often you think about regulatory compliance and whether your business is across all regulatory obligations with appropriate controls in place. If the answer to the last question is not enough or no, it may be time to take on such an employee. A dedicated compliance manager can immediately free up precious time for other members of senior management by taking on the compliance burden. With a specific person tasked with staying up-to-date on regulation changes, communicating new requirements and emerging issues, developing and implementing policies and procedures as well as conducting routine audits, you'll have more resources to focus on growing your business. You know you need a compliance manager when... You want to avoid penalties…
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The AER’s Better Bills Guideline

The AER’s Better Bills Guideline

AU Energy Compliance
On 31 March 2022, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) published the Better Bills Guideline.  The Guideline creates binding and enforceable obligations on energy retailers in respect of their preparation and issuance of energy bills for small customers. This article summarises some of the key obligations of the Guideline. For detailed instructions on how to implement and comply with the Guideline, please get in touch. From 4 August 2022, Subrule 25(1) of the National Energy Retail Rules will require energy retailers, in preparing and issuing bills to small customers, to comply with the Better Bills Guideline.  The Guideline allows energy retailers to implement the new billing requirements as set out in Parts 3 and 4 over a transitional period.  Retailers can choose to continue to comply with the bill content requirements in…
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Australian Energy Regulator Releases the Results of its Latest Compliance Audits Under the National Energy Retail Law

Australian Energy Regulator Releases the Results of its Latest Compliance Audits Under the National Energy Retail Law

AU Energy Compliance
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has published results of its audits into Alinta Energy, Simply Energy, ReAmped Energy and Powershop with a focus on compliance with hardship and disconnection obligations.  The audit results provide important information to all energy retailers as to what is expected when it comes to compliance in these key areas.  The audit assessed the adequacy and effectiveness of compliance policies, procedures and systems in a number of key areas and assigned an overall grading of either adequate and effective, partially adequate and effective, or inadequate and ineffective. Simply Energy Simply Energy’s audit results contain a total of 12 findings and 12 recommendations.  The findings included: That a training matrix recording the training provided to agents had not been maintained;That the Simply Energy hardship policy had not…
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The enforcement and penalty regime for energy sellers in Victoria

The enforcement and penalty regime for energy sellers in Victoria

AU Energy Compliance
Changes have recently been made to the enforcement and penalty regime for non-compliance with energy laws in Victoria. In this article we explain some of those key changes and their implications for energy sellers. Energy Fairness Act The Energy Legislation Amendment (Energy Fairness) Act 2021 is now in effect.  The Energy Fairness Act includes various provisions of importance for all energy retailers operating within Victoria including prohibitions on door-to-door sales, cold calling, and the use of save and win back customer retention strategies. The Energy Fairness Act introduced criminal penalties for wrongful disconnection with fines of up to one million dollars (an increase from the previous maximum of $5,000.00).  There are two tiers to the wrongful disconnection criminal penalty regime.  The first is a retailer who knowingly or recklessly arranges…
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Victorian Energy Retail Code of Practice (formerly the Energy Retail Code)

Victorian Energy Retail Code of Practice (formerly the Energy Retail Code)

AU Energy Compliance
On 1 March 2022, the Victorian Energy Retail Code of Practice took effect.  The rules previously existed in a different iteration (Energy Retail Code), however in December 2021, Victorian legislative changes deemed existing energy codes as ‘codes of practice’.  To fully implement the new enforcement framework and effect the conversion, the Essential Services Commission (ESC) undertook a 6 month review and consultation process, which culminated in the final version of the Energy Retail Code of Practice being published. The new code has no substantive changes to the obligations for licensees or exempt persons.  In the final decision, the ESC noted that the process of converting the existing code to a ‘code of practice’ was primarily an administrative one.  Chiefly, the changes involved re-numbering provisions, and minor clarifications.  This was to…
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Draft Retail Exempt Selling Guideline (Version 6) March 2022

Draft Retail Exempt Selling Guideline (Version 6) March 2022

AU Energy Compliance
What’s Changed? On 9 March 2022 the AER published its draft Retail Exempt Selling Guideline (Version 6). The AER have invited stakeholder’s submissions which closes on 7 April 2022. The draft amendments to the guideline invoke some significant changes and also involves some minor tweaking to give clarity in relation to compliance obligations. This document provides a summary of the changes. The first point to note is the name changes to the guidelines. The AER stated: We have revised the title of the Guideline from AER (Retail) Exempt Selling Guideline to Retail Exempt Selling Guideline. Similarly, we have changed the title of the Electricity Network Service Provider – Registration Exemption Guideline to Network Exemptions Guideline (network guideline). The title changes of both guidelines aim to promote symmetry between the two…
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ESC: Compliance and Performance Reporting Guidelines Version 7

ESC: Compliance and Performance Reporting Guidelines Version 7

AU Energy Compliance
 Transitional Period Guide and Summary of Amended Provisions On 16 February 2022, the Essential Services Commission of Victoria (ESC) amended its Compliance and Performance Reporting Guidelines (the ‘Guideline’). The amendments are contained in version 7 of the Guidelines. This guideline applies to all licensed Victorian electricity and gas retailers as a statutory condition of licence under section 23A of the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic) (EIA) and section 33 of the Gas Industry Act 2001 (Vic) (GIA). This guideline also applies to all licensed Victorian electricity and gas distributors as a condition of licence. The Guideline took effect on 16 February 2022. Compliance indicator and performance indicator reporting obligations take effect from 1 July 2022. This performance reporting requirement will take effect from 1 March 2022, with data for the…
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