The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) today released the final revised AER Compliance Procedures and Guidelines (the Guidelines). Accompanying the final Guidelines is the Notice of Final Instrument and the AER's Practice Guide for Compliance Audits. The Notice of Final Instrument explains the AER's decision making on the changes to the Guidelines. The AER’s Practice Guide for Compliance Audits has been updated to ensure consistency with the new Guidelines.
The review of the Guidelines resulted in changes to the reporting requirements by energy businesses, including:
- Changing the frequency of reporting of potential breaches around explicit informed consent from half yearly to quarterly.
- Refining the Guidelines to focus on areas with the highest risk and detriment while reducing the regulatory burden on businesses. For example, we expanded the half yearly reporting obligations in relation to hardship but reduced the reportable obligations with respect to customer billing to only the most important.
- Amending the Guidelines to capture the new rules introduced by the AEMC, including the new rules related to life support, customer transfers and the benefit change notice.
The new Guidelines come into effect on 1 April 2019.
The AER is responsible for energy market regulation, including ensuring compliance with the National Energy Retail Law (Retail Law), the National Energy Retail Rules (Retail Rules) and the applicable National Regulations. The Guidelines support this function.
In jurisdictions that have adopted the Retail Law, the Guidelines establish a self-reporting framework that set out the manner and form businesses must submit compliance information and data to the AER. The Guidelines also includes guidance on the carrying out of compliance audits under the Retail Law.
On 18 June 2018, the AER published for consultation proposed amendments to the Guidelines. Accompanying the draft Guidelines was the Notice of Draft Instrument. Interested parties were invited to make a submission on the proposed changes to the Guidelines. Eight submissions were received.