Compliance Quarter’s Submission to the AER’s Review of the Compliance Procedures and Guidelines

Compliance Quarter’s Submission to the AER’s Review of the Compliance Procedures and Guidelines

AU Energy Compliance
On 11 April 2024, Compliance Quarter put forward its submission on proposed changes to the AER Compliance Procedures and Guidelines. The AER is reviewing its Compliance procedures and guidelines, which set out the manner and form in which energy businesses in jurisdictions that have adopted the National Energy Retail Law must submit compliance information and data to the AER. We argue that there should be consideration of measures to incentivise early reporting of potential breaches. These may, for example, take the form of firm discounts to the maximum civil penalty that can result from non-compliance. Clearly, it is the obligation of entitles to comply and to report however as in other spheres, incentives make a difference and can influence behaviour. While changes would be required at the legislative level, we argue…
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How to comply with the life support equipment registration rules

How to comply with the life support equipment registration rules

AU Energy Compliance
Introduction If you are a retailer selling energy to customers who require life support equipment, you need to be aware of your obligations under the National Energy Retail Rules (NERR). Life support equipment is any equipment that is needed to sustain or support the life of a person, such as oxygen concentrators, kidney dialysis machines, ventilators, and so on.  The NERR provides a definition of life support equipment. Customers who rely on such equipment are entitled to certain protections under the NERR, such as advance notice of planned interruptions, emergency contact numbers, and exemption from de-energisation. To provide these protections, you need to register the customer's premises as requiring life support equipment and keep your registration details up to date. You also need to obtain medical confirmation from the customer…
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Understanding Part 3 of the National Energy Retail Rules: Customer Hardship

Understanding Part 3 of the National Energy Retail Rules: Customer Hardship

AU Energy Compliance, Consumer
Introduction The National Energy Retail Rules (NERR) are a set of rules that regulate the retail sale of electricity and gas to customers in those states that have adopted the national framework within the National Energy Market (NEM). The NERR aim to protect the interests of customers and promote efficient and competitive retail markets. The NERR cover various aspects of the retail relationship, such as contracts, billing, payment, disconnection, connection, metering and customer information. One of the key components of the NERR is Part 3, which deals with customer hardship. Customer hardship refers to the situation where a customer is unable to pay their energy bills due to financial difficulties, such as unemployment, illness, family breakdown or other unforeseen circumstances. Customer hardship can affect anyone, regardless of their income, location…
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AER’s Comprehensive Review of the Exemptions Framework for Embedded Networks

AER’s Comprehensive Review of the Exemptions Framework for Embedded Networks

AU Energy Compliance, Embedded Networks
AER's Comprehensive Review of the Exemptions Framework for Embedded NetworksThe Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is undertaking an extensive review of the exemptions framework for embedded networks, as revealed in their recent issues paper dated November 2023. The review comes in the wake of rapid growth in embedded networks and mounting concerns about customer outcomes. This article delves into the details of the AER's review, presenting the key issues and proposed changes that could reshape the future of embedded networks in Australia. The AER has released a comprehensive issues paper signalling a deep dive into the regulatory exemptions for embedded networks. As the energy landscape evolves and embedded networks proliferate, the AER's review underscores the paramount importance of consumer protection and market transparency. Embedded Networks Under the Microscope Embedded networks are…
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Preparing to Apply for a Retailer Authorisation: A Comprehensive Guide

Preparing to Apply for a Retailer Authorisation: A Comprehensive Guide

AU Energy Compliance
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. If you would like to know if your business is ready to apply, please contact us. What is a Retailer Authorisation? A retailer authorisation allows businesses to sell energy (gas or electricity) under the National Energy Retail Law (Retail Law). The AER provides a specific guideline document called "AER Retailer Authorisation Guideline" to guide businesses in this process. The guideline details the application process, entry criteria, obligations, and procedures for authorisation amendments, revocation, surrender, and transfer. Preparing for a Retailer Authorisation Before applying…
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The State of the Energy Market 2023: Observations and Insights

The State of the Energy Market 2023: Observations and Insights

AU Energy Compliance
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 (AER), 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. The Role of Energy Retailers Energy retailers sit at the crucial intersection of the energy supply chain, linking energy generation, distribution, and end consumers. They purchase electricity and gas either directly from suppliers or through wholesale markets and sell it to residential and small business customers. As noted in the 'State of the Energy Market 2023' report, "Retailers are exposed to financial risk through spot price volatility…
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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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Understanding Energy Retail Contracts and Retailer Obligations

Understanding Energy Retail Contracts and Retailer Obligations

AU Energy Compliance
Types of Energy Retail Contracts 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. Obligations of Energy Retailers Energy retailers operating in NSW, QLD, ACT, SA, and TAS have a range of obligations under the National Energy Retail Rules (NERR) the Law and…
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The Electricity Invoice Rubik’s Cube

The Electricity Invoice Rubik’s Cube

AU Energy Compliance, Consumer
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 readers with varying levels of energy understanding, literacy, disabilities, and language proficiency, 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 space that is available on an energy invoice is limited, it has always been challenging for retailers to present a simple invoice that not only explains what is payable but…
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Final report published by the AEMC on Consumer Energy Resources Technical Standards

Final report published by the AEMC on Consumer Energy Resources Technical Standards

AU Energy Compliance
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 national regulatory framework to improve compliance with technical standards for rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources. The review found "significant non-compliance" with existing rooftop solar inverter standards, with only 37% of new rooftop solar connections correctly configured according to the standards in the first quarter of 2022. The commission warned that non-compliance poses "immediate concerns and undermines confidence in the effective implementation of any future" standards. To address these issues, the commission recommended that "energy ministers lead the development of a national regulatory framework for consumer energy resources technical standards." The framework should consider several options, including expanding the role of the Australian Energy…
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