Exemptions relating to the sale or supply of energy to small customers have conditions relating to dispute resolution. In March 2018 the AER amended its network and retail guidelines to include energy ombudsman scheme membership as a core condition. Retail and network exemption holders that sell or supply energy to residential customers in South Australia, the ACT and New South Wales must now join the relevant ombudsman scheme. Retail and network exemption holders that sell or supply energy to residential customers in Queensland will be required to join the relevant ombudsman scheme when permitted to do so in the future. The AER intends to extend this condition to all existing relevant individual exemptions that were approved before March 2018.
Specifically, exemptions granted to individual exemption holders who sell electricity to residential customers will now require the seller:
- to be a member of, or subject to, an energy ombudsman scheme for each jurisdiction where it sells energy to exempt customers and
- comply with the requirements of that scheme.
The AER may amend the conditions of any exemptions that it has approved. Under the National Energy Retail Rules (Retail Rules) changing a condition is taken to be changing the exemption itself and is subject to the retail consultation process specified in the Retail Rules.