The Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) mid-year compliance and enforcement update highlights energy businesses paid $4.38 million in penalties between July and December 2020.
Key actions and outcomes delivered in the first half of the financial year include:
- $3.8 million in civil penalties following successful litigation outcomes
- $580,000 in penalties paid in response to 29 infringement notices
- 2 court enforceable undertakings secured to correct failings in compliance processes and systems
- guidance published on key protections for customer metering and compliance expectations for key obligations under the National Electricity Rules as market participants prepare for the critical summer period.
The AER is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with national energy laws and rules and taking action when they are breached. The AER Compliance & Enforcement Policy explains our approach to promoting compliance with obligations under the National Electricity Law, National Gas Law, National Energy Retail Law and the respective Rules and Regulations. The policy also provides guidance on how we respond to potential breaches and the factors we may have regard to when deciding whether to take enforcement action, and should be read in conjunction with our compliance and enforcement priorities.
On 29 January 2021, the AER was granted increased penalties that will be available to the courts if alleged breaches of the energy rules are substantiated. The AER was also given are new powers to aid with investigations into alleged breaches of the rules; Guidelines are available on the use of the AER’s powers to issue compulsory notices, including the new oral examination power as well as the existing powers to compel the provision of information and documents.