The Customer Consultative Group (CCG) provides advice to the AER in relation to our functions under the energy laws affecting energy consumers across participating jurisdictions.
The inaugural CCG was appointed in 2009 to enable informal consultation on the development of retail guidelines and to assist the AER in developing an understanding of retail issues prior to the commencement of the National Energy Retail Law and Rules in relevant jurisdictions on 1 July 2012.
Membership provides participating organisations with the opportunity to inform the AER about issues that impact on the groups they represent. It also provides members with the opportunity to meet with other consumer representatives to discuss key energy consumer issues.
How the group works
Three formal CCG meetings and one planning meeting are held each year.
CCG members are required to consult with their constituency outside the meetings and members are expected to provide comment on:
- issues and energy market developments affecting household and small business energy consumers that fall within the scope of the AER's functions under the National Electricity Law, the National Gas Law and the National Energy Retail Law;
- strategies to communicate with community consumer groups and energy consumers, including advice on best channels and networks to enhance communication; and
- input into other issues as requested by the AER.
By providing this advice, members assist the AER in carrying out its functions under the national energy legislation.
In September 2021, the AER appointed Elissa Freeman as the first Chair of the CCG. The Chair will work as a conduit between the AER and the new group, to be recruited in October 2021.
Ms Freeman has over 15 years of experience advocating for the interests of consumers across a range of markets including energy, water, telecommunications and financial services. Ms Freeman is the founder and coordinator of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia, a Director of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and Director of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority.
The AER is inviting organisations and individuals to apply for membership of a new iteration of its Customer Consultative Group.
The AER aims to achieve a balance and variety of interests and perspectives among the new membership and encourages both national and state-based consumer representatives to apply.
Our vision is for the CCG to be involved across a range of AER functions, particularly those related to the National Energy Retail Law and National Energy Retail Rules. Our retail energy market functions cover New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and Queensland, and we are particularly targeting organisations that can represent consumers in those jurisdictions.
For the next membership, we are keen to ensure that a broad range of consumers are represented. We are particularly seeking representatives with strong links to the following sectors:
- rural or regional consumers
- financially disadvantaged or vulnerable consumers
- Indigenous consumers
- culturally and linguistically diverse consumers (especially those that speak a language other than English at home)
- people with disability and/or experiencing chronic ill health
- younger Australians and older Australians
- small businesses
- tenancy organisations.
Full details may be found on AusTender.
From May 2017- May 2020, the CCG included 12 members (listed below). From June 2020, an additional two members joined the CCG and the group met more regularly as the CCG COVID-19 Working Group, to provide the AER with timely information about the impacts of COVID-19 on energy consumers. These members included:
- Brotherhood of St Laurence
- Consumer Action Law Centre - from June 2020
- COTA Australia
- Country Women's Association of Australia
- Ethnic Communities Council of NSW
- Financial Counselling Australia - from June 2020
- National Retail Association
- Public Interest Advocacy Centre
- Queensland Council of Social Service
- St Vincent de Paul Society
- Uniting Communities
Energy Consumers Australia, the Australian Energy Market Commission, and a representative from the Australian & New Zealand Energy and Water Ombudsman Network (ANZEWON) have previously attended meetings as observers.
Information on the membership of the previous CCGs can be found on the past membership web page.
Information about what was discussed at CCG meetings can be found in the CCG Communiqués.