Voluntary Embedded Network Code of Practice – Western Australia (WA)

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Background

The Voluntary Embedded Network Code of Practice (the Code) was developed by Energy Policy WA, responsible for developing the policy and regulatory framework for the electricity sector in Western Australia. This Code aims to provide similar customer protections and service standards to embedded network customers as those supplied by licensed electricity retailers in Western Australia.

During the initial voluntary period of 6 months (with possible extension), learnings from this Code will help inform the development of a mandatory code of practice for alternative electricity services (AES), which may apply to embedded network sellers and other emerging business models that fall outside the licensing framework. The AES framework is expected to be implemented in late 2024 or early 2025.

The decision paper outlines feedback received from key stakeholders during the consultation period of May and June 2023 and also communicates changes to the Code

Energy Policy WA published the final code on 22 February 2024, following a consultation process with stakeholders, including embedded network operators, customers, service providers, and industry bodies.

Voluntary period

Registration for interested embedded network sellers to participate in the Voluntary period commenced on the date of publication of the Code and continues until late September. Energy Policy WA invites interested stakeholders to participate in the voluntary framework by completing an online form.

During the voluntary period,  Energy Policy WA intends to use feedback from stakeholders to assess whether the obligations are fit for purpose and meet the desired outcomes.

The decision paper notes that during the voluntary period there will be no monitoring or enforcement of compliance by the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) and customers will not have access to the Energy and Water Ombudsman.

On Tuesday, 5 March 2024 at 1pm (WST) an online forum will be hosted and registrations are open here.

Key changes

We list below some of the key changes that may be applicable to any embedded network sellers who participate in the voluntary framework.

  • Embedded network sellers are responsible for the actions of agents or contractors acting on their behalf.
  • Embedded network sellers must provide or arrange for each customer to be provided a completed disclosure statement in the format published by Energy Policy WA.
  • Embedded network sellers may charge a customer a fixed daily supply charge for a separately metered supply for EV, however, the amount of this charge must not be more than the amount of the fixed charge as per the Residential Tariff.
  • Embedded network sellers must advise a customer on request the type of meter installed at the customer’s premises, whether any other type of meter can be installed at the customer’s premises and any associated costs.

In addition to some of the key changes listed above, there are other obligations which may apply to embedded network sellers should they participate in this framework. These include:

  • Embedded network sellers must publish general information about the Code and how to obtain a copy on their website.
  • Embedded network sellers must prepare a bill for the customer that complies with the content requirements under clause 6.3.
  • Embedded network sellers must develop, maintain and implement a hardship policy to assist residential customers (minimum requirements for hardship policy are listed in clause 8.4)
  •  Embedded network sellers must develop, maintain and implement a family violence policy (minimum requirements for family violence policy are listed in clause 9.5).
  • Embedded network sellers must comply with disconnection related obligations which are further explained in clause 10.

A copy of the Disclosure Statement is included in Annexure A of the Code.

If you or your team have any questions regarding these changes or the AES framework changes please feel free to contact us.

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