Electricity metering is a complex process that requires the collaboration of various entities to ensure accurate measurement and efficient energy management. Understanding the roles and
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) oversees the authorisation process for energy retailers in Australia. If you’re considering joining this market, it’s crucial to understand the AER’s guidelines and requirements. This article will outline the preparatory steps your business needs to take before applying for a retailer authorisation.
The energy market is an ever-evolving landscape, dictated by a complex interplay of market forces, consumer behaviours, and regulatory interventions. The ‘State of the Energy Market 2023’ report, published by the Australian Energy Regulator, provides a comprehensive evaluation of the market’s current state, offering valuable insights into the retail energy markets, market regulations, energy affordability, and the role of the energy retailer.
Understanding the Comparison of Electricity and Gas Prices for Small Customers in Australia – October 2023
Each year, the Tasmanian Economic Regulator issues a report comparing electricity and gas prices available to small customers in Australia. The 2023 report, issued in
Energy retailers operate in a dynamic and highly regulated environment so dealing with energy regulators is an inevitable aspect of this business. To maintain a healthy and compliant relationship with energy regulators, there are some key principles to keep in mind.
Energy retail contracts are agreements between an energy retailer and a customer outlining the terms and conditions for the sale and supply of energy. There are primarily two types of contracts:
Standard Retail Contracts: These contracts are set out by law and offer basic consumer protections. The terms and conditions, including prices, are regulated and cannot be altered by the energy retailer.
Market Retail Contracts: These contracts are more flexible and may offer discounted rates, renewable energy options, and other incentives. The terms and conditions, including prices, are set by the energy retailer and may vary.
One of the few ways that an energy retailer can potentially distinguish themselves is by the way in which they present their electricity invoices. It is a challenging design problem: you have a number of constraints in the regulatory framework and with simple space on the page, you have a readers with different levels of understanding of energy- readers who have different levels of literacy who may have a disability and who may not read English, and you have a lot of information you want to convey. In those states that have adopted the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF), retailers must now comply with the Better Bills Guideline. In Victoria, retailers have more discretion.
The Australian Energy Market Commission has released its final report for the Review into Consumer Energy Resources Technical Standards, calling for the development of a
The Australian Government is consulting on options to strengthen protections for consumers and small businesses against unfair trading practices. Unfair trading practices refer to certain commercial practices that cause harm but are not prohibited by existing laws. The consultation paper released by Treasury in August 2023 explores options to amend the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to introduce new protections from unfair trading practices.
The changes in November 2023 aim to strengthen these protections. The revised unfair terms regime will apply to all new or renewed standard form consumer and small business contracts from this date. It will be illegal for businesses to propose, rely on or use unfair terms, with penalties for breaches. The changes also update the definition of ‘small business’ to include those with less than 100 employees or $10 million turnover.
On 9 August 2023, the Victorian Ombudsman published Misconduct in public organisations: A casebook. The casebook examines seven real-world cases of misconduct substantiated by the Ombudsman through investigations. While the cases specifically involve public sector entities, the issues explored, like conflicts of interest, financial mismanagement, and failure to foster a culture of integrity, apply equally to private businesses.
The Essential Services Commission’s Guideline 4 on explicit informed consent requirements under the Energy Retail Code of Practice is a very useful resource for energy sellers in Victoria. This article summarises the key steps energy sellers must follow to comply with their obligations to obtain explicit informed consent from customers.
The New South Wales Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has released an industry consultation paper as part of its review into regulating energy prices
Victoria’s energy regulator has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from retailer 1st Energy Pty Limited following allegations that the company violated the Statewide ban on door-to-door energy sales. The ban, which took effect in December 2021, prohibits unsolicited visits and cold calls by energy retailers and their representatives.
A strong compliance culture is essential for any business to operate ethically and efficiently while avoiding legal and regulatory issues. A compliance culture means that compliance with laws, regulations, policies, and ethical standards becomes ingrained in the way a business and its employees think and behave. It ensures that compliance is not just a matter of checking boxes for mandatory training but is fully integrated into the organisation’s DNA.
The ACCC recently released draft guidance on environmental and sustainability claims to help businesses understand their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and best practice when making such claims. The draft guidance aims to encourage truthful and accurate claims, decrease instances of ‘greenwashing’, and assist consumers in making informed choices.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has released draft guidance on how it proposes to implement the amended National Electricity Objective (NEO) and National Gas Objective (NGO) to include consideration of emission reductions. The amendments to the NEO, NGO and National Energy Retail Objective are expected to be passed by the South Australian parliament in September 2023.
AER Releases Annual Compliance and Enforcement Report: Focus on Supporting Vulnerable Customers and Efficient Energy Markets
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) recently released its Annual Compliance and Enforcement Report for 2022–23, outlining its activities over the past year to monitor and enforce compliance with Australia’s national energy laws and rules. A key focus has been on supporting vulnerable customers, including those experiencing financial hardship. The AER has also acted to support the efficient operation of competitive energy markets through monitoring compliance of generators, gas pipelines and retailers.
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 ACCC’s latest report on its Inquiry into the National Electricity Market provides unique insights into the electricity bills faced by customers across New South Wales, South Australia, South East Queensland, and Victoria. The ACCC’s findings demonstrate how different energy plans, tariffs and contracts can impact consumers’ bills.
Key points from Executive Board Member Geoff Summerhayes’ speech to the Financial Services Assurance Forum- Lessons for Energy Sellers
Cyber threats are accelerating and evolving rapidly. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in online activity and remote working, providing more opportunities for cyber criminals to attack. While there have been no major cyber breaches of banks, insurers or super funds yet, it is only a matter of time. Boards and internal audit functions often lack understanding and expertise in cyber security, leaving organisations vulnerable.
As participants in the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) and Peak Demand Reduction Scheme (PDRS), you have various obligations you must meet to comply with the schemes. This article provides an overview of the key compliance obligations and includes guidance and quotes directly from IPART’s Compliance Guide – Scheme Participants to remind you of what is required.
Australian Energy Regulator (AER) Chair Clare Savage recently outlined the regulator’s consumer protection priorities for 2023-2024 during her address at the 2023 Australian Energy Week conference. Savage acknowledged the challenging times facing the energy sector with the twin themes of the accelerating energy transition and increasing cost of living pressures affecting consumers.
This is the first of a series of posts reflecting on Energy Week 2023. Daniel Westerman, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), recently delivered a speech at Australian Energy Week 2023 on the theme of managing the tensions inherent in Australia’s energy transition.
Australian Government Proposes National product stewardship scheme for solar photovoltaic systems and small electrical and electronic equipment
The Australian Government has released a discussion paper outlining their proposal for a national regulated product stewardship scheme for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and small
Compliance Quarter has urged the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to reconsider a proposal that would require all retailers to provide an ‘all assets’ security interest as a mechanism to increase the likelihood of cost recovery from failed retailers. In a submission to the AEMC’s review of the Retailer of Last Resort scheme, Compliance Quarter said that mandating such a security interest would likely increase financing costs for retailers and act as a barrier to new entrants in the market.
As interest rates continue to climb so too does the risk of electricity customers being placed in a position where they are not able to pay their bills on time. ‘Hardship’ can be experienced by anyone and everyone, whether you are working full time or rely on government support. Energy retailers in NECF have a range of obligations in relation to hardship and, as we move towards winter bills, should be reviewing their existing processes to ensure that they are providing the best support possible to those customers facing payment difficulties.
Late last year, the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (Commission) released its Draft Decision on improving consumer protections for small-scale energy network customers. The decision applies in relation to small-scale energy networks regulated exclusively by the Commission. There are approximately 11,000 customers in these networks in remote and regional South Australia. The Commission’s final decision is likely to be made in the coming weeks.
The Essential Services Commission (ESC) has released a draft Land Access Code of Practice to regulate how energy transmission companies access private land when undertaking new projects or significant upgrades. The code will be critical as we see new transmission projects emerge to support the energy transition.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released its Compliance and Enforcement Priorities for 2023-24, outlining key focus areas for monitoring and enforcing compliance in Australia’s energy markets over the next year. The priorities aim to protect consumers, especially those experiencing vulnerability, enable competitive markets, and support efficient infrastructure.
The National Electricity Market (NEM) is going through a significant transition. A large proportion of existing coal-fired generation is approaching retirement, requiring replacement by new
Energy retailers must follow strict rules when issuing bills to their customers. These rules aim to ensure customers receive accurate and understandable bills, while also receiving prompt and fair adjustments when billing errors occur.
Introduction The New Energy Tech Consumer Code is a voluntary code that sets minimum standards for retailers in the new energy technology market. The Code
The Better Bills Guideline (Version 1) was published on 31 March 2022 and set out requirements for energy retailers to prepare and issue bills to
Transferring customers without their explicit informed consent (for more on EIC – click here) is a breach of the National Energy Retail Law (NERL) and
Retailers must comply with the National Energy Retail Rules when establishing payment plans for customers experiencing financial hardship. This includes having regard to the customer’s capacity to pay, any arrears owing by the customer, and the customer’s expected energy consumption needs over the following 12 month period.
Disconnecting energy supply to a customer is a serious matter and should only be done in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations. In NECF
Understanding new regulatory obligations can be a daunting task for any organization. It is important to be aware of all applicable laws and regulations, both
As the world continues to shift towards a more sustainable and efficient energy sector, the importance of responsible data management has become increasingly apparent. The
What is Conduct Risk Conduct risk refers to the risk that a company’s employees, agents, or contractors may engage in behaviour that is inappropriate, unethical,
The day to day role of a Compliance Officer is multi-faceted. On a typical day, they will monitor operational processes and procedures using a compliance management platform to ensure that the company complies with all legal regulations and ethical standards. They will manage the information flow by researching, recording and analysing data and information. This is an important part of their role as it helps them identify and manage regulatory risk.
Compliance Quarter is excited to announce the first of several new resources available for existing and aspiring energy retailers, including those looking to obtain an
With the introduction of the Consumer Data Right (CDR) in the energy retail sector, retail businesses and consumers will have access to valuable insights. The CDR allows energy retailers to gain a deeper understanding of their customer base and devise strategies to serve them better. In this article, we explore the potential of the CDR and how it can benefit energy retailers.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, companies often rely on a single system or process to ensure quality oversight and control. However, this can lead to