Avoiding Compliance Atrophy: The Critical Role of Assurance Reviews for Growing Energy Retailers

Avoiding Compliance Atrophy: The Critical Role of Assurance Reviews for Growing Energy Retailers

AU Energy Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
As energy retailers expand their customer base and operations, ensuring ongoing compliance with regulatory obligations can become increasingly challenging. A key risk is "compliance atrophy" - where initially compliant documents, processes and systems slowly deteriorate and waste away over time if not regularly monitored and reviewed. What is compliance atrophy? Compliance atrophy is typically a result of documents, processes and systems being 'updated' or 'reworded' to reflect changes in focus for the business and input from other stakeholders including marketing and sales teams. Oftentimes, a business incorrectly assumes that provided that the original intent is retained, a document, process or system will remain complaint. That is not the case. In energy, and in other industries the regulatory framework is ultra specific in what it tells businesses to do. For example,…
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How to Manage Multiple Compliance Deadlines: A Case Study

How to Manage Multiple Compliance Deadlines: A Case Study

AU Energy Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
Compliance managers in the energy sector are constantly juggling a large work load with competing deadlines. Managing time effectively is a core skill for compliance managers. In this article, we will present a hypothetical case study of a compliance manager in an energy retailer who has to juggle multiple compliance tasks and deadlines, and how they can use some strategies and tools to manage their workload and prioritise effectively. We will also share some insights and tips from Compliance Quarter, a consultancy that helps energy businesses with regulatory compliance. The Case Study Meet Alice, a compliance manager in a medium-sized energy retailer that operates in several states and territories. Alice is responsible for ensuring that the retailer complies with the relevant laws, rules, codes, and standards that apply to its…
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How to Avoid Compliance Risks by Effective Communication: A Case Study

How to Avoid Compliance Risks by Effective Communication: A Case Study

Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
Compliance managers in the energy sector face many challenges in ensuring that their businesses comply with the regulatory framework. One of the most common and frustrating situations is when their advice is ignored or overridden by senior management or other stakeholders, exposing the business to potential compliance risks and penalties. In this article, we will present a hypothetical case study of a compliance manager in an energy retailer who faced this scenario and how it affected the business outcomes. We will also provide some practical recommendations for compliance managers on how to communicate effectively within the business and avoid compliance risks. The Case Study Anna is a compliance manager in a medium-sized energy retailer that operates in several states. She has been working in the energy sector for over 10…
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How to Choose a New Billing System for Energy Retailers

How to Choose a New Billing System for Energy Retailers

AU Energy Compliance, Compliance, NT Energy Compliance, NZ Energy Compliance
Billing is a vital part of the energy retail business. It involves calculating and collecting the charges for the energy services provided to the customers, as well as complying with the regulatory obligations and reporting requirements of the energy market. A good billing system can help the energy retailer to improve its operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and competitive edge. However, many energy retailers are struggling with their existing billing systems, which may be outdated, unreliable, or inadequate for the changing needs and expectations of the market. Some of the common problems that energy retailers face with their billing systems are: Lack of flexibility and functionality. The billing system may not be able to handle the complexity and diversity of the energy products and services, such as time-of-use tariffs, demand response…
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The NT Utilities Commission releases Decision Paper on stage 2 of electricity licensing regime review

The NT Utilities Commission releases Decision Paper on stage 2 of electricity licensing regime review

Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
In 2022, the Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory (the Commission) commenced a review of the Territory’s licensing regime which aims to clarify and enhance the operation of the licensing regime.  The review is being undertaken in three separate components (stages): Stage 1: a review of the coverage, relevance and flexibility (scope and design) of the licensing regime Stage 2: a review of the consistency, efficiency and effectiveness of the form and content of licences Stage 3: a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Commission’s licensing and related reporting The Decision Paper released in August 2023 marked the completion of Stage 1, focusing on refining the scope and design of the regime. This Decision Paper, released in January 2024, finalises stage 2, presenting the Commission’s decisions on new…
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How to Build an Effective Energy Retailer Compliance Program

How to Build an Effective Energy Retailer Compliance Program

AU Energy Compliance, Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
It is very difficult for energy retailers who are operating independently of one another to understand what an effective compliance management program is. Typically, the only feedback that they receive is from regulators when something goes wrong i.e. when there is a breach that they are required to report on, and they subsequently go through an investigation and enforcement process. Regulators themselves do not fully understand the compliance function’s roles and responsibilities- they typically see the tail end, what goes wrong, and not the work that goes in to avoiding non-compliance. Compliance Quarter has the advantage of having worked with a number of energy retailers and as a result is in a unique position in being able to explain what an effective compliance program looks like. So, what are some…
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Virtual Power Plants: Reshaping Energy Markets and Empowering Consumers

Virtual Power Plants: Reshaping Energy Markets and Empowering Consumers

AU Energy Compliance, Consumer, NT Energy Compliance
The traditional electricity grid is undergoing a fundamental shift as distributed energy resources (DERs) like solar panels, batteries, and smart appliances proliferate. Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) are at the forefront of this transformation. A VPP is a cloud-based network that intelligently links DERs, allowing them to collectively function as a distributed power plant This can provide crucial grid services like frequency regulation and voltage support [1]. How Do VPPs Impact Customers? VPPs open up new possibilities for customers both on an individual basis and collectively. Potential Cost Savings: VPPs allow customers to earn payments for making their energy resources accessible during peak times. This reduces reliance on costly fossil-fuel 'peaker plants', potentially lowering overall electricity bills [2]. Resilience and Reliability: VPPs can dispatch backup power from DERs during outages, improving grid resilience for customers [2].…
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ACCC report highlights challenges and opportunities for retail electricity market

ACCC report highlights challenges and opportunities for retail electricity market

AU Energy Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
In December 2023, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its latest report on the National Electricity Market (NEM), covering the period from August 2022 to July 2023. The report examines the state of competition and consumer outcomes in the retail electricity market, the impact of the energy transition on the contract market and retailers' ability to manage financial risk, and the need for reforms to improve the conditions for competition and deliver better outcomes for consumers. Key findings and recommendations The ACCC report reveals that the market volatility and high prices experienced in mid-2022 have continued to affect retailers' costs and pricing strategies, as well as consumers' engagement and satisfaction. The report also finds that the contract market is undergoing significant transformation as the NEM shifts to more…
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Navigating Energy Regulation: Best Practices for Effective Communication

Navigating Energy Regulation: Best Practices for Effective Communication

AU Energy Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
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. Be Succinct When communicating with energy regulators, less can often be more. Energy retailers should strive for succinctness because providing excessive information increases the risk of regulators raising further questions on other areas of the business not previously in the spotlight. By offering precisely what's requested and nothing more, retailers minimise the chances of inadvertently highlighting furtherissues. When responding to requests for information, provide the regulators with precisely what they have asked for and ensure your response is directly relevant to their inquiry. Address any specific questions asked without…
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Proposed reforms to address unfair trading practices in Australia

Proposed reforms to address unfair trading practices in Australia

AU Energy Compliance, Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
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. What is proposed? The options discussed in the consultation paper include: Retaining the status quo – no change to existing laws. The ACL would continue to protect against misleading or deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct and unfair contract terms but would not specifically target unfair trading practices. Amending the statutory unconscionable conduct provision to expand its scope. This could involve expanding the list of factors courts must consider…
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