On 6 November 2017, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released a draft Retail Exempt Selling Guideline (Draft Guideline). The Draft Guideline proposes new conditions that, if adopted, will be imposed in a number of electricity on-supply scenarios.
Access to Ombudsman
The Draft Guideline proposes a new condition that requires on-suppliers selling electricity to residential customers to be members of, or subject to, an energy ombudsman scheme. This only applies if access to the ombudsman is contemplated in the relevant jurisdiction.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) is not currently available to the customers of on-suppliers in Queensland. The Department of Energy and Water Supply are considering expanding access to the EWOQ.
The first steps in that regard were proposed under the now lapsed Electricity and Other Legislation (Batteries and Premium Feed-in Tariff) Amendment Bill 2017. You can read more about the Bill in our previous article.
Interruptions to supply
New conditions in the Draft Guideline require certain electricity on-suppliers to notify their customers of an interruption to the supply of electricity:
- for planned interruptions to supply: at least four business days before the date of the interruption; and
- for unplanned interruptions to supply: within 30 minutes of being advised of the interruption, or otherwise as soon as practicable.
The Draft Guideline set out what form the notice must take and its contents. The on-supplier must use its best endeavours to restore supply to the affected exempt customer as soon as possible.
The Draft Guideline now provides further detail on the type of complaints and dispute resolution mechanism that relevant on-suppliers must have in place.
Who is impacted?
Not all categories of on-supplier will be required to comply with the new conditions proposed in the Draft Guideline.
The changes to the dispute resolution processes will apply to those on-suppliers selling electricity to residential customers.
The conditions relating to dispute resolution and the interruption of supply impact a broad range of electricity on-suppliers including:
- body corporates, landlords and lessors selling metered electricity in commercial and retail developments or to residential dwellings; and
- owners or operators of caravan parks, residential parks and manufactured home estates selling metered electricity to residents.
Please contact us if you would like further information on how these changes may impact you.
Have your say
A copy of the Draft Guideline can be accessed here.