The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against four subsidiaries of AGL Energy Limited, alleging they failed to submit timely and accurate retail market performance data in breach of the National Energy Retail Law.
The AER alleges that AGL was late in submitting accurate performance data for each of the quarters of the 2017/18 financial year.
The AER also alleges that the data initially submitted and then resubmitted by the four AGL companies was inaccurate for 544 of 600 performance indicators when combined across Quarters 1, 2 and 3.
The data for Quarter 4 was correct, but was submitted up to 19 days late by each of the four AGL companies.
The performance data contains important indicators on the retail energy market, including the number of customers in hardship programs, the number of customers disconnected for non-payment and overall customer numbers.
AER Chair Clare Savage said that robust enforcement ensuring compliance with the law is vital to building consumer trust that companies are doing the right thing.
“The alleged failure by these AGL companies to submit accurate and timely retail market performance data may have led to the AER, and stakeholders that rely on data published by the AER, being misinformed.
“It is critical that all energy businesses have adequate systems and processes in place to ensure the information and data they submit to regulators is accurate and meets the submission deadline.
“AGL is a big player in the retail energy market which makes it all the more important that it has in place appropriate systems to provide the AER with accurate performance data within the timeframes required, so that the AER can correctly report on the market.
“Accurate and timely data is critical to the AER’s economic and market monitoring function which helps ensure market transparency and effective policy making,” Ms Savage said.
The AER is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties and costs.
Notes to editors
The four subsidiaries of AGL Energy Limited are:
- AGL Sales Pty Limited,
- AGL South Australia Pty Limited,
- AGL Retail Energy Limited, and
- Powerdirect Pty Ltd.
The AER is seeking:
- declaratory relief under subsection 44AAG(1) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA);
- orders for pecuniary penalties under paragraph 44AAG(2)(a) of the CCA, the maximum of which is $100,000 per contravention; and
- costs under section 43 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth).
About the AER
The AER works to make all Australian energy consumers better off, now and in the future.
- We regulate electricity networks and covered gas pipelines, in all jurisdictions except Western Australia. We set the amount of revenue that network businesses can recover from customers for using these networks.
- We enforce the laws for the National Electricity Market and spot gas markets in southern and eastern Australia. We monitor and report on the conduct of energy businesses and the effectiveness of competition.
- We protect the interests of household and small business consumers by enforcing the Retail Law. Our retail energy market functions cover New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and Queensland.
- We drive effective competition where it is feasible and provide effective regulation where it is not. We equip consumers to participate effectively, including through our Energy Made Easy website, and protect those who are unable to safeguard their own interests. We use our expertise to inform debate about Australia’s energy future.