The new rule proposal for exempt gas sellers

AU Energy Compliance, Consumer
The new rule proposal for exempt gas sellers A consultation paper was released last week by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) on a proposal that exempt gas sellers in east and south-east coast states be allowed to purchase gas directly from the Australian Energy Market Operator’s ‘Gas Retail Markets’. These markets are the equivalent of the National Electricity Market for gas retailers. We describe the proposal below and offer our take on it. Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash By Dr Andrew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter. 1. Two Frameworks for Gas As with electricity, there are two distinct regulatory frameworks for gas sellers in the eastern and south-eastern states: • The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) administered by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). It is focused on customer protections and captured primarily in the…
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Webinar – Two New Codes for Banking and Lending

Consumer, Financial Services
In our recent webinar focusing on the finance industry, regulatory specialist Dr Drew Donnelly consider two new codes for banking and lending. This year has seen the finalisation of two distinct codes covering lending and banking businesses in Australia: The Banking Code of Conduct 2019 (Banking Code) and the Code of Lending Practice: AFIA Online Small Business Lenders (Lending Code). This webinar forms part of our series looking at the role of fintech, financial services, and the regulatory and compliance environments that surround them. If you would like to know more about our work supporting companies in the fintech and financial services sector, please contact us by clicking here. Below you can view a full transcription of the webinar along with the video. Recent Developments in Banking & Fintech Open…
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Webinar – Managing Energy Consumer Complaints

Webinar – Managing Energy Consumer Complaints

AU Energy Compliance, Consumer
This article provides the full transcript and slides from a recent webinar looking at the background and process for managing energy consumer complaints. Compliance Quarter clients looking to obtain further advice on this important topic should contact the team by clicking here. Agenda 1. Current Trends 2. The Standards 3. The Practice Reporting AER’s published reports provide intelligence on the market. Reports are found here: https://www.aer.gov.au/retail-markets/performance-reporting Another good source of information is each ombudsman scheme’s reports i.e. here https://www.ewon.com.au/page/publications-and-submissions/annual-reports Trends of complaints over time. Billing remains a significant issue. New categories of meter exchange. The reduced number of marketing complaints-will that rise? Expect to see embedded networks present their own issues. Regulatory Obligations NERR(1) A retailer must include, as a minimum requirement in relation to the terms and conditions of…
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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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New benchmark for solar feed-in tariffs in NSW

New benchmark for solar feed-in tariffs in NSW

AU Energy Compliance, Consumer
On 3 July, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released its final report on the value of solar feed-in tariffs for 2018/2019[1]. We heralded the release of IPART’s final decision in an earlier article and encouraged our readers to make submissions on the issues paper. Photo by Olivier Fahrni on Unsplash By Alex Silcock, Senior Paralegal, Compliance Quarter Rooftop solar has become increasingly popular, with customers either using electricity generated by their own panels or selling the electricity generated back to the grid. ‘Solar feed-in tariffs’ refer to the amount customers receive from retailers for electricity that they export back to the grid. It is important to note that IPART does not set a uniform tariff that all retailers must adhere to. Rather, they set a voluntary ‘benchmark range’ which gives retailers…
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Should You Outsource Compliance?

Should You Outsource Compliance?

AU Energy Compliance, Consumer
In providing legal, regulatory and compliance services, we see a variety of approaches towards compliance and enable clients to outsource compliance to varying degrees. This article is not intended to argue the overall culture a business should create around compliance (we did that in a fantastic recent article - click here) but investigate some of the options for how a company can resource and manage compliance. By Stephen Findley, Relationship Manager, Compliance Quarter Broadly speaking, a company can operate its compliance management in three ways: Fully in-house - Source, hire and build a team dedicated to compliance Fully outsourced - utilise an individual, team or company of outsourced professionals Blended solution - combine in-house and outsourced And the choices here can often come down to the preferences and experiences of…
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The Importance of Culture, Not Spend in Compliance

The Importance of Culture, Not Spend in Compliance

Consumer, Financial Services
‘Actions speak louder than words’ - it’s an idiom that’s as old as time itself yet has never been as relevant to the world of compliance management as it stands today. This is a look at the importance of culture, not spend in compliance. By Sarah Le Breton, Compliance Quarter. As a former regulator and law enforcer, I have had firsthand experience in working with regulated entities when it comes to their compliance frameworks, particularly when there are a short-comings that need to be examined and addressed. In most instances when you issue notices to produce, you will invariably find an impressive set of formal documents that set out the way that the company is managing its compliance with the relevant statutory obligations – some clearly have better advisors than…
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The advantages of automating compliance workflows

The advantages of automating compliance workflows

Consumer
It’s no secret that automation is changing the way that business is practised – you just have to look at platforms like MailChimp and SalesForce to see the impact that automation has had on the world of customer relationship management. The benefits that automation can bring to a business are becoming increasingly clear across a number of areas of business management – knowing what tasks your staff are most commonly performing, along with the steps within those tasks and then being able to identify if there is scope for automation is the new norm. By Sarah Le Breton, Compliance Quarter. Why then should the world of compliance be any different? As we have previously discussed, the way that your compliance controls are applied by your staff in their day to…
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Electricity charges in lease agreements: competing interpretations

Electricity charges in lease agreements: competing interpretations

Consumer, NZ Energy Compliance
A recent judgment handed down by the High Court of New Zealand highlights the need for exercising extreme care when drafting and reviewing lease agreements. Volumex Nominees Limited V The Attorney-General [2018] NZHC 647 concerned an agreement between landlord and tenant in a seven-story building in New Plymouth. The dispute was about the amount of electricity charges to be paid by the tenant. We take a look at electricity charges in lease agreements. Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash By Alex Silcock, Compliance Quarter Electricity charges in lease agreements - Background: The case was brought before the court in an application for summary dismissal. Associate Judge Johnston, at the beginning of his reasons, noted that ‘at the heart of this case is a humble comma’. The particular clause that provided for the payment of…
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Six Questions Every Director Should Be Asking About Compliance

AU Energy Compliance, Building and Construction, Consumer, Financial Services, NZ Energy Compliance
The obligation to ensure adherence to general and specific laws applying to your company’s operations is at the heart of your responsibilities as a company director – both under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and at common law. The most recent set of hearings before the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Royal Commission) are a sage reminder of the need for organisations (of all sizes) to reflect on how they are managing issues of governance and compliance within their business. You can follow some of our previous coverage of the Royal Commission here (https://www.compliancequarter.com.au/three-financial-services-compliance-lessons-from-the-royal-commission/#_ftn1). By The consequences of failing to meet your obligations as a director can potentially expose the organisation to actions by shareholders, along with civil penalty enforcement action by the…
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