The AER has published its final Retail Exempt Selling Guideline (version 6), which includes a copy of newly established documents:
- AER factsheet: How to access an authorised retailer of your choice if you live in an embedded network.
- Exempt Seller Hardship Policy template.
Exempt selling occurs when a person or business purchases energy from a retailer and on-sells the energy to their customers, commonly through an embedded network. The AER governs who can on-sell energy without becoming an authorised retailer, and the conditions exempt sellers have to comply with, via its Retail Exempt Selling Guideline. An exempt seller’s core business is not the sale of energy.
Key amendments to the final guideline include:
- The introduction of a new hardship policy condition.
- The introduction of a new information provision condition for exempt sellers to provide their customers with an AER factsheet. This factsheet sets out for these customers the process, and the difficulties they may face, if they want to purchase energy directly from a retailer.
- Clarifying our expectations that conversions to embedded networks must only occur when prospective customers are fully informed of the impacts and provide their consent.
- The introduction of a requirement to provide evidence of steps taken to obtain ombudsman scheme membership, as part of the individual exemption application process.
The new hardship policy condition, in particular, will now ensure residential customers in embedded networks who experience payment difficulties due to hardship can have access to adequate support to better manage their energy bills.
Other amendments to the guideline involve revision or ‘fine-tuning’ to support exempt sellers to understand their compliance obligations and ensure protections are accorded to customers.
Our reasons for these proposed changes to the Retail Exempt Selling Guideline (version 6) are set out in the Notice of Final Instrument.
Network Exemptions Guideline review
The AER has decided to defer release of the draft Network Exemptions Guideline (version 7) while further changes are made to streamline and simplify the document. This means the final Network Exemptions Guideline will not be published alongside the final Retail Exempt Selling Guideline (version 6) as originally intended.
We will notify interested stakeholders when the AER’s draft Network Exemptions Guideline and notice of draft is published and will seek submissions in due course. We anticipate this to occur in August 2022. You can subscribe to receive email updates by selecting type 'Exemptions' or continue to visit the AER’s website for further updates