Small-scale energy networks consumer protection framework review
- Project Released: 24 Nov 2021
- Project Closes: Jun 2023
- Contact: Lissa Arcoverde
The Commission is reviewing the effectiveness of the small-scale energy consumer protection framework, which applies to around 5,500 customers located in regional and remote areas of the State where the National Energy Customer Framework does not apply.
It provides similar protections around standards terms and conditions, customer service, dispute resolution, billing, payment assistance, disconnection and restoration of supply obligations. It also includes consumer protections for the use of prepayment metering systems.
Current status is Final
- Further info
In accordance with the Final Decision, the Commission has developed the following four documents for small-scale electricity and gas retail licensees:
The templates are offered to the Commission’s small-scale energy retail licensees for their use in meeting the standard terms and conditions sections of the Electricity Act 1996 (s36) and the Gas Act 1997 (s34).
The templates are provided as a resource, not a requirement, for licensees. If a licensee chooses to use one of the templates, it must tailor the template contract to reflect its unique circumstances.
The final decision results in four main enhancements to the Commission’s consumer protection framework for small-scale energy networks customers:
- Improved clarity and consistency between small-scale gas and electricity consumer protections by moving detailed obligations from individual electricity licences to an industry code (the Small-scale Electricity Networks Code) and expanding the coverage of the current Reticulated LPG Industry Code to small-scale natural gas networks licensed by the Commission (the Small-scale Gas Networks Code).
- Aligning hardship and disconnection protections with those in the National Energy Customer Framework where appropriate and necessary to improve outcomes for customers, while noting that the small-scale networks licensed by the Commission have small customer bases from which they can recover their costs, and limited resources compared to larger entities regulated by the NECF.
- Extending consumer protections to ‘customers’ rather than ‘small customers’ in the Small-scale Networks Gas Code and Prepayment Meter System Code to bring the coverage of consumer protections for these customers into line with those provided to smalls-scale electricity customers.
- Updating the Prepayment Meter System Code to reflect the significant technological improvements in metering systems since the code was introduced in 2005, in particular the ability for customers to switch between prepaid and post-paid arrangements without changes to the physical meter.
The development of the final decision has been informed by two formal rounds of stakeholder consultation and feedback, along with ongoing stakeholder engagement.
The three codes (Small-scale Electricity Networks Code, Small-scale Gas Networks Code and Prepayment Meter System Code) will come into effect on 1 July 2023. Licensees will have a six-month transition period to 1 January 2024 to implement the new requirements.
Any feedback, questions or comments can be provided by email to [email protected].