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 as payment plans and energy efficiency advice or waive late payment fees if you are 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 are also specific rules that door-to-door and telephone salespeople must follow. Refer to our guide on dealing with salespeople.
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 when you move house
- advise your retailer if you begin 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.