Your energy rights

The National Energy Retail Law commenced in the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania on 1 July 2012, South Australia on 1 February 2013, New South Wales on 1 July 2013, and Queensland on 1 July 2015.

These laws set out your rights and responsibilities as a gas and electricity consumer.

If you are in a state or territory that hasn’t commenced the National Energy Retail Law, you will still have rights—check with your state or territory energy regulator about the specific protections that apply to you.

Energy retailers are required to:

  • provide you with fair contracts with clear terms and conditions so you can fully understand the energy offer
  • provide you with printed material on their offer or a one page summary of their offer (an Energy Price Fact Sheet and written product disclosure statement)
  • notify you if they change your contract including the cost of your gas and electricity
  • provide clear information on your bill, including how your electricity usage compares to other households in your area
  • provide you with flexible payment options
  • provide hardship programs that provide assistance such payment plans, energy efficiency advice or waiving late payment fees if you having difficulty paying your bill
  • maintain a ‘no contact’ list so that you can request that their salespeople do not visit you at home
  • tell you about your right to complain if you have problems with your energy service.

You also have a right to fair and honest dealings with your retailer. Energy retailers, like all businesses, must comply with laws around advertising and marketing. There also specific rules that door-to-door and telephone salespeople must follow.

As a consumer, you are responsible for ensuring that you:

  • provide open and convenient access to read and maintain your electricity and gas meters
  • provide notice of when you are moving house
  • advise your retailer if you are using your energy differently, for example if you start running a small business from home
  • provide confirmation from a medical practitioner if someone in your residence requires life support equipment.