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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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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Resources for existing and aspiring energy retailers: Financial Model

Resources for existing and aspiring energy retailers: Financial Model

AU Energy Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
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 energy retailer authorisation. These resources include tools that will help you become compliant and plan for the future. The first such tool we are making available is a financial model. Financial Model for Energy Retailers The financial model is an excel model that includes sensitivity analysis as required by the AER and ESC. Provision is made for fixed costs, taxes, and AEMO prudentials. Assumptions are explained in the model and users can run scenarios based on different input costs. The tool is only available for existing or proposed energy retailers, and is not available for consultants or firms. For a limited time, you can purchase…
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Disclosure obligations of energy retailers

Disclosure obligations of energy retailers

AU Energy Compliance, Victorian Energy
Today we take a fresh look at the disclosure obligations of energy retailers before or as soon as practicable after they contract with a customer (a market retail contract). Complete and accurate disclosure is important to make sure that consumers can make well-informed decisions. This means that consumers should have all the information they need to decide if the product is right for them based on their own needs. A retailer's obligations vary depending on the jurisdictions in which it operates. The National Energy Retail Rules, Retail Pricing Information Guidelines, and the ACCC's Electricity Retail Code all impose disclosure obligations on retailers marketing in NSW, QLD, SA, and the ACT. In Victoria, obligations are found within the Energy Retail Code of Practice. Rule 64 of the National Energy Retail Rules…
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Electricity Price Increases in Victoria

Electricity Price Increases in Victoria

Victorian Energy
The Essential Services Commission (ESC) has released a report on electricity prices (here). The report unsurprisingly found that higher wholesale electricity costs drove recent market offer price increases. Over the 2021-22 financial year, the median electricity offer in Victoria increased by two per cent for residential customers and one per cent for small business customers. The market offer price trend over this period was broadly U-shaped, but with a sharper increase from January until September 2022. During the January to September 2022 period, the median electricity offer in Victoria increased by eight per cent for residential customers and six per cent for small business customers. Given the changes that occurred to wholesale pricing in June, we can expect further interesting analysis to arise for the July to December period. Wholesale…
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A focus on best offer messaging by Victorian retailers

A focus on best offer messaging by Victorian retailers

Victorian Energy
The Essential Services Commission (ESC) has identified a variety of potentially concerning issues with the way that certain retailers have calculated and displayed best offers; including the the prominence and placement of best offers on bills; and the frequency that these messages appear on customers’ bills. Analysis is still underway and we can expect further updates from the ESC over the coming months. Best offer obligations The best offer obligations were introduced in 2019 as part of major reforms to help customers understand and identify the best offer available to them. The obligations include the display of the amount (in dollars) that a customer could be saving on a retailer's best offer. The ESC's compliance focus The ESC started a proactive compliance monitoring project focused on best offer obligations in…
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Explicit Informed Consent: A critical regulatory obligation for energy sellers

Explicit Informed Consent: A critical regulatory obligation for energy sellers

AU Energy Compliance, NT Energy Compliance
Explicit informed consent (EIC) is fundamental to transactions that occur in the energy market including the transfer of a customer from one retailer to another. One of the most serious types of breaches by an energy retailer is a failure to obtain a customer’s EIC when required by relevant regulatory obligations. The consequences of non-compliance are serious with the new civil penalty provisions in both NECF and in Victoria. With so much at stake, how can retailers reduce the risk of non-compliance? What is explicit informed consent? Explicit informed consent is given by a customer when a retailer, or the retailer’s agent, has clearly, fully and adequately disclosed all matters relevant to the consent of the customer to a transaction, including each specific purpose or use of the consent. Explicit…
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Victoria ‘makes good’ on its promise to ban embedded network, or does it?

Victoria ‘makes good’ on its promise to ban embedded network, or does it?

AU Energy Compliance
Summary Yesterday it was announced that the Victorian state government had 'made good' on its election promise to ban embedded networks. State minister for energy Lily D’Ambrosio said that from January 2023 embedded networks would be banned unless they 'ran' on 100% renewable energy.  We’re banning embedded networks because all Victorians deserve to get the same competitive energy deals and have the same protections, driving down the cost of living when people need it most, said D’Ambrosio. The recent announcement comes in response to a report from an expert panel. Government response The government’s response and position with respect to the expert panel’s final report can be viewed here: https://engage.vic.gov.au/embedded-networks-review Below we examine some of the most important points. Renewable energy condition The government will amend the General Exemption Order…
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2022-2023 Compliance and Enforcement Priorities of the ESC (Victoria)

2022-2023 Compliance and Enforcement Priorities of the ESC (Victoria)

AU Energy Compliance
On 11 July, the Essential Services Commission (ESC) published its energy compliance and enforcement priorities for 2022-23.  The ESC continues to focus on protecting vulnerable customers in the following areas: wrongful disconnection of customersexplicit informed consent (EIC)the payment difficulty frameworkbest offer messagesembedded networks’ fees and chargesdistributors’ guaranteed service level (GSL) compensation paymentsongoing priorities for customers experiencing vulnerability Wrongful disconnection of customers Focus will be on ensuring processes, procedures and rules around disconnections are followed, ensuring disconnections to residential and small businesses are carried out appropriately and only as a last resort. Explicit informed consent (EIC) The ESC will be looking at the area of explicit informed consent to ensure it is correctly obtained (and relevant information provided) prior to entering into certain transactions. They further note: “[W]e have zero tolerance…
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