Cowell Electric licence variation: Proposed prepayment by default consumer protections

23 May 2022

In December 2021, the South Australian Government made the Electricity (General) (Payment Condition) Variation Regulations 2021 (Variation Regulations), which commence 1 July 2022. The Variation Regulations require the Commission to impose a condition on Cowell Electric Supply Pty Ltd’s (Cowell Electric) electricity generation, distribution and retail licence that it only sell electricity to ‘prescribed customers’ using a prepayment meter system.

The prescribed customers are approximately 1050 residential customers in the remote Aboriginal communities and associated homelands of Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, Yalata, and Oak Valley who do not currently pay for electricity.

The prescribed licence condition creates inconsistency with the practical operation of key consumer protections under the Commission’s current Prepayment Meter System Code. As such, the Commission has developed a draft schedule to Cowell Electric’s licence, which sets out a range of prepayment metering minimum terms and conditions for the sale of electricity via prepayment metering, based on the existing Prepayment Meter System Code. These proposed protections reflect the unique conditions faced by the prescribed customers who will be supplied under the provisions of the new Regulations.

The draft schedule has been developed in consultation with stakeholders who have an understanding of the practical implications of implementing prepayment metering systems in remote communities. Feedback contained in stakeholder submissions on the Prepayment Meter System Code review have also been considered in the development of the protections.

Stakeholders are invited to make submissions by 5pm Friday, 3 June 2022.

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