Modernising Electricity Regulation: The AES Framework and Embedded Networks in Western Australia

Modernising Electricity Regulation: The AES Framework and Embedded Networks in Western Australia

Embedded Networks, WA Energy Compliance
Background The existing licensing framework overseeing the sale and supply of electricity in Western Australia (WA) has struggled to adapt to the rapid expansion of emerging and atypical electricity business models in recent years. To address this, in 2019, the then Minister for Energy commissioned Energy Policy WA to assess the regulatory framework in Western Australia. In 2020, Energy Policy WA initiated consultations on a proposed regulatory framework for various categories of 'alternative electricity services' called the Alternative Electricity Services (AES) registration framework. This framework aims to apply customer protection obligations to persons providing electricity services through atypical business models not covered by the existing licensing framework, or where the current framework is deemed inadequate. Legislative amendments to the Electricity Industry Act 2004 (WA) to give effect to the AES…
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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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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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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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Energy Retailer under Scrutiny for Banned Door-to-Door Sales

Energy Retailer under Scrutiny for Banned Door-to-Door Sales

AU Energy Compliance, Victorian Energy
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. Evidence gathered by the Essential Services Commission indicates that between January and March 2022, 1st Energy signed up 81 new customers through unsolicited home visits conducted by third-party sales agents. Agents gained entry to homes under the pretense of installing in-home energy monitoring devices, but then used the opportunity to solicit energy quotes and contracts from 1st Energy via SMS without the customers' prior consent. Commissioner Sitesh Bhojani stated there are clear rules prohibiting these types of unsolicited sales tactics. He said…
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AER Releases Annual Compliance and Enforcement Report: Focus on Supporting Vulnerable Customers and Efficient Energy Markets

AER Releases Annual Compliance and Enforcement Report: Focus on Supporting Vulnerable Customers and Efficient Energy Markets

AU Energy Compliance
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. In the report the AER note that “Compliance with national energy laws gives consumers and energy market participants confidence that energy markets are working effectively and in their long-term interests.” The AER set five compliance priorities for 2022–23, focusing on consumers, wholesale electricity and gas markets. Supporting Consumers Experiencing Vulnerability A top priority was effective identification of residential customers…
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Clare Savage Outlines AER’s Consumer Protection Priorities Through Australia’s Energy Transition

Clare Savage Outlines AER’s Consumer Protection Priorities Through Australia’s Energy Transition

AU Energy Compliance
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. Savage emphasised the AER’s role in protecting consumers through compliance and enforcement actions against energy companies that fail to meet their obligations. Savage noted that maximum penalties for breaching energy laws have increased substantially, with the largest penalty imposed in 2022 totalling $17 million compared to $1.5 million previously. Over the past two years, total AER issued penalties have amounted to over $39 million, a significant increase from just $3.5 million over the previous 14 years. According to…
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New Code Sets Standards for Energy Transmission Companies Accessing Private Land

New Code Sets Standards for Energy Transmission Companies Accessing Private Land

AU Energy Compliance
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 code aims to balance the rights of landowners and occupiers with the need for transmission companies to access land to provide essential services. The code will require transmission companies to: •Consult with and provide relevant information to affected parties prior to accessing land. According to the code, “An electricity transmission company must consult with affected parties and other parties interested in land in accordance with this Part 2 prior to accessing land in accordance with an access agreement or by exercising its…
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AER Prioritises Consumer Protection and Market Transparency

AER Prioritises Consumer Protection and Market Transparency

AU Energy Compliance
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. A top priority for the AER is improving outcomes for customers experiencing financial hardship. The AER notes that “with the considerable challenges facing the east-coast energy market and rising cost of living more generally, we expect to observe a significant increase in the number of consumers experiencing financial hardship this year.” The AER will closely monitor retailers’ compliance with hardship obligations and policies. “Our focus will be on ensuring that all eligible customers are able to access the protections they are entitled to…
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<strong>Navigating the NERL: A Guide for Authorised Retailers on Transferring Customers Without Consent</strong>

Navigating the NERL: A Guide for Authorised Retailers on Transferring Customers Without Consent

AU Energy Compliance
Transferring customers without their explicit informed consent (for more on EIC – click here) is a breach of the National Energy Retail Law (NERL) and can result in penalties. It is important for Authorised Retailers to understand the rules and regulations that apply to the transfer of customers without consent. This advice outlines the rules that apply to the transfer of customers without consent and provides recommendations for Authorised Retailers to ensure compliance. Definition of Small Customer A small customer is a residential customer, defined in section 3 of the NERL as customers who purchase energy principally for personal, household or domestic use at premises, or a business customer who consumes less than 100MWh of electricity annually in New South Wales and Queensland, or less than 160MWh of electricity annually…
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