Retailers must comply with all their industry obligations as set out in the Code. Below is a selection of obligations that a distributor has under the Code with our guidelines to enable retailers to implement best practice.
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Powerswitch and Utilities Disputes
Retailers are required to provide clear and prominent information about Utilities Disputes:
- on their website
- when responding to queries from consumers
- in outbound communications directed to consumers about electricity services and bills.
Retailers that trade at a residential ICP recorded on the registry are required to provide clear and prominent information about Powerswitch:
- on their website
- in outbound communications to residential consumers about price and service changes
- to residential consumers on an annual basis
- in outbound communications directed to residential consumers about the consumer’s bill.
See clauses 11.30A to 11.30E of the Code and the following guidelines.
Consumer care guidelines
We expect retailers to use our consumer care guidelines to provide a consistent and supportive standard of service to domestic consumers. Our guidelines are to help retailers:
- adopt behaviours and processes that foster positive relationships with domestic consumers
- help domestic consumers maximise their potential to access and afford a constant electricity supply suitable for their needs
- help domestic consumers minimise harm caused by insufficient access to electricity or by payment difficulties
- engage with medically dependent consumers - these customers must be identified and recorded as early as practicable and not disconnected for non-payment.
See the following resources to help align your practices with the consumer care guidelines.
Contracting principles and minimum terms
We expect retailers to use our contracting principles and minimum terms and conditions for domestic consumer contracts. Our guidelines include advice on:
- meaningful choice, such as offering a range of pricing plans, products and services for consumers to consider and make informed decisions
- connections, disconnections and contract termination
- actual supply of electricity and related services, such as metering
- contractual terms and conditions, such as being fair and reasonable
- costs, for instance unexpected and unfair costs, that should not be imposed on consumers
- billing and payments
- access to property
- access to remedies in the case of complaints.
Communicating price changes
We expect retailers to apply our guidelines on how to communicate price changes to consumers and the media to improve transparency around electricity charges. Read the following guidelines.
Customer compensation scheme
Retailers must operate a customer compensation scheme, which requires them to pay qualifying customers when asked to conserve electricity. The minimum weekly amount is $10.50 and will increase to $12.00 per week from 1 August 2023. The Electricity Authority determines the minimum weekly payment and reviews it every three years.
Details about the customer compensation scheme are contained in subpart 4 of Part 9 of the Code.
Retailer information provision
All retailers who have at least 1,000 ICPs recorded on the Electricity registry (on the last calendar day of the reporting month) must comply with the Retailer Financial Stress Notice. Participants are required to provide specific information under this notice to our Information provision platform.
Trader default situation
If a trader continues to fail to pay for electricity or distribution services it can lead to increasing financial losses by generators and distributors. The failure by traders to pay for services is referred to as 'trader default'.
We have processes in place to ensure that a customer will never be without a retailer as a result of a trader default, as per Parts 11 and 14 of the Code.
Electricity sector legislation is complex and technical. See our guidance on industry‑specific best practice.